Florida Gators select firm to design stand alone football facility

On Wednesday the University Athletic Association selected HOK, a Kansas City based architectural firm, to design the Florida Gators new stand alone football facility.

“We are excited to partner with HOK to design our football operations facility and student-athlete dining hall,” Chip Howard UF’s executive associate athletics director for internal affairs said. “The overall knowledge that the team at HOK has of our facilities stood out during the presentation process and their firm is an industry leader in athletic facilities.”

HOK was founded in 1955 and have vast experience in designing sporting venues. The firm designed Little Caesars Arena (Detroit Pistons), Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta Falcons) and the newly renovated Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Dolphins).

HOK was selected from a group of four firms that all made presentations to the UAA with their vision of what they could do with the space. HOK’s presentation emphasized the importance of making the Florida brand apparent throughout the design. The video they presented (shown below) is still in the conceptual stage, but the firm should have renderings in the near future.

“The University of Florida has a long history of developing champions,” said Algen Williams, a regional leader of HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice. “This project will create a facility that supports the university’s mission of forming well-rounded student-athletes. We look forward to using design to help tell the story and define the future of the Gators’ celebrated football program.”

The stand alone football facility has an estimated $60 million dollar price tag as part of a previously announced $100 million dollar master plan that includes renovations to the baseball and softball stadiums, as well as a new dining room facility for all 500-plus UF student-athletes.

HOK’s plan for the building is a three-story, 130,000-square foot structure that will host all football operations. The building includes a “state of the art” strength and conditioning center, training room, hydrotherapy space, and a new immersive 3D hologram training environment. A player’s lounge and a new team locker room will give the football players their own space to unwind between practices and classes. The facility also has a “recruiting room” and an open-air “family balcony.”

“The football operations project is going to have a significant impact on the daily experience of our student-athletes and staff,” Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in a release “This facility represents a substantial commitment on behalf of Florida Athletics and Gator Boosters to ensure Gator coaches, players and staff are able to perform as efficiently as possible, while the new dining hall will benefit all 500-plus Florida student-athletes.”

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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