The much-ballyhooed indoor practice facility is almost complete and the Florida Gators will soon have a new refuge from the monsoon like summer rains and scorching Florida heat this weekend.
The $17 million dollar price tag is enough to make you blush, but the necessity of an indoor facility in Gainesville cannot be overstated. In Head Coach Jim McElwain’s first fall camp, the Gators have already had to move practice indoors to the ill-equipped Florida gym and the constant uncertainty revolving around the football schedule is something that has weighed on the minds of the players.
“I think once it’s finished it will be nice just because you’ll know the schedule for the day,” Redshirt senior Jake McGee, who is going through his second IPF building process, said. “There won’t be any situations where you’re getting ready for a three o’clock practice and these thunderstorms come out of nowhere and then you’re not practicing until eight. Then eight comes and it’s still thunder storming outside.”
The summer rain has been no joke this year, but McElwain plans to give the IPF a lot more run than just to keep his team out of wet weather. Florida will use the indoor practice facility during two-a-days, giving the team relief from the heat in one of the two practices as well.
“The whole idea is the use of it to take that beating of the sun off during two-a-days every third practice,” McElwain said. “That doesn’t mean you go slower. You take the heat, you take the beating off the body from that standpoint, which then makes you fresher as the season works at the end.”
The 87,000 square foot facility is 400 feet long by 200 feet wide and will be used throughout the year, not just for spring and fall camp.
“Game week, the use of it is based on weather on Monday,” said McElwain. “We try to always get outside on Tuesday, Wednesday’s a push based on that, Thursday’s an indoor day no matter what, Friday’s a walk through indoor no matter what.”
The indoor practice facility may have been a necessity, but McElwain and the Florida Gators are certainly going to get their money’s worth.