The Rise of an Icon is a major initiative to renovate and enhance the exterior with a new two-story main entrance and a complete renovation of the interior of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Strategic design and amenity improvements, which are anticipated to take about 18 months to complete, will provide students, fans, alumni and patrons with a dramatically new experience.

A reconfigured arena and new premium spaces, including a club lounge and expanded courtside seating area, will present new possibilities for a pre and post-game receptions, meetings, celebrations and informal socializing. Meanwhile, a high-efficiency utility system promises significant energy savings for the University of Florida.

On June 9, 2016, the University of Florida Board of Trustees approved and signed a contract that has given the naming rights of the main arena space, in exchange for monetary support of the renovation, to a locally based company. The whole facility will continue to be known as the Stephen C. O’Connell Center but the arena portion will be known as the Exactech Arena. Based in Gainesville since 1985, Exactech develops and produces innovative implants for joint replacement and had collaborated with the University of Florida for decades, supporting mutual interests in innovation, education and heath care.


For more videos and updates, check out our media updates page.


The design team is dedicated to transforming the O’Connell Center from one of the greatest utility consumers on campus to a true green building. Sustainability has been at the forefront of the design process with a focus on energy efficiency, use of sustainable materials and waste stream diversion. The O’Connell Center aims to be LEED Gold certified when it reopens in December, 2016.