Gator Athletics get $7 million donation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida Athletic Association recently announced that James W. “Bill” Heavener has a made a commitment of $7 million dollars to name the new Florida football complex that will be completed prior to the start of the 2008 season. A member of the Gator Boosters, Inc. Board of Directors, and a distinguished Bull Gator, Heavener has been a long-time supporter of UF athletics.

“We are grateful for Bill Heavener’s donation,” said head coach Urban Meyer. “His financial support is a key component in completing the premier football stadium in the nation. This recent construction project features a front door look to the stadium that will give fans and former players a chance to pay tribute to the champions of Florida football.”

The renovation project at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will enhance the experience for Gator student-athletes, staff and visitors. This project will include the renovation and expansion of the football office complex. An additional 6,815 square feet will be added to the existing square footage, creating a grand total of 12,436 square feet for all football office areas. All of the offices will be equipped with the latest technology.

The cornerstone of the project will be a new “front door” to the football office complex. This structure, rising three stories, will be constructed at the southwest corner of Ben Hill Griffin, at the intersection of Gale Lemerand Drive and Stadium Road. The 1,911 square-foot entry will feature Gator accomplishments as reflected in photography and video technology.

Adjoining the football main entry will be a new 3,821 square-foot football Gator Room. The Gator Room is used by the UAA as meeting room space and will also provide the Gator football program with a central location to house recruiting functions throughout the year. Seating capacity for meals will be 200, with total capacity expected to be 560, and state-of-the-art technology will dominate the space. Incorporated in the Gator Room is an 810 square-foot kitchen, along with ample storage and rest rooms for visitors.

The strength and conditioning complex will expand to a total of 26,685 square feet. This room facilitates over 350 student-athletes throughout the year, and will be furnished with new weight equipment, TV monitors, state-of-the-art sound system and an artificial turf track for speed workouts and other aerobic activity. Strength and conditioning staff offices and student-athlete locker and shower facilities will be located in this area.

Since 1992, Heavener has served as Co-chairman/CEO of Full Sail Real World Education, a highly-regarded entertainment media college in America, with 5,000 students, located in Winter Park, Fla. He is a Director and Co-Chairman of the Los Angeles Film School and the Los Angeles Recording School, both located in Hollywood, Calif.