O-Dome fundraising nearing completion

In a recent radio interview with ESPN 850 WRUF, Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley shot down the notion that Florida has fallen behind other schools in terms athletic facilities. Foley pointed towards recent renovations to the baseball and football facilities as well as two current projects the UAA is fundraising for.

While fans clamor for an indoor practice facility, Foley and the UAA have been raising money with a goal of $70-$75 million to completely renovate the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and the Office of Student Life, Florida’s academic center for all of its athletes.

The renovations to the O’Connell Center will be drastic, utilizing an estimated budget of $40-$45 million, with Foley saying the idea is to have people walk in and not recognize the O Dome once the remodel is done.

“Our intent is to gut it and build a new facility inside,” Foley said to ESPN radio. “People will not recognize it when they go inside, that’s the goal.”

The O’Connell Center is overdue for a facelift. The last upgrades came in 2006 when four video bard were added. Foley plans to meet with the board of directors in June and soon after meet with architects to begin the endeavor, which will take just under a year to complete.

That means Billy Donovan and the Gator basketball team could be without a building to call home for some time.

At the SEC meetings in Destin, Florida, Foley outlined the timeline for the massive renovation and what it will mean for the basketball team.


Donovan told reporters in Destin that he would hope to play two games over three days in those cities. The last time Florida played a regular season game in Orlando it came in a loss to UCF during the 2010-11 season. Florida drew solid crowds during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Orlando this past season and would likely draw large crowds during a barnstorming type schedule.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC