Q: When will the project begin?
A: The renovation team began the design process in July 2014, and construction is scheduled to begin in March 2016. The last scheduled event before the renovation begins will be Dance Marathon on March 19-20, 2016.
Q: When will construction be complete?
A: The renovation is scheduled to be completed in time for UF’s Fall semester commencement in December 2016.
Q: How much does this renovation cost?
A: The estimated cost for renovating the O’Connell Center is $64 million.
Q: How is the renovation being funded?
A: UF has committed at least $15 million to the project, with the balance currently being raised through Gator Boosters and other sources.
Q: Is this renovation just about athletics?
A: No, though many of UF’s athletic teams will benefit. The O’Connell Center hosts a wide variety of events that benefit the entire university and the Gainesville community, including UF commencement, concerts, trade shows, job fairs and local high school graduations.
Q: Why not just build a new arena?
A: The O’Connell Center is ideally situated in the heart of the UF campus, which makes it easily accessible and a vibrant part of student life. A new construction would have been more costly and would have had to go in a location less conducive to the many functions of the O’Connell Center.
Q: Where will Spring & Summer 2016 commencement ceremonies be held?
A: Currently, UF plans to host Spring commencement ceremonies at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium while Summer ceremonies will be held at the Phillips Center.
Q: Where will volleyball compete in the 2016 season?
A: Volleyball will host its 2016 home schedule at Santa Fe College. Santa Fe launched its volleyball team in 2014, coached by former Gator assistant coach Nick Cheronis, and will have the capability of hosting UF’s volleyball matches the following season, as well.
Q: Where will men’s and women’s basketball play the early part of their 2016-17 schedules?
A: Men’s basketball plans to play some “home” games around the state of Florida, in cities and venues to be determined. The women’s team will pursue a similar, though not identical, plan for its early-season home schedule.
Q: Does this impact gymnastics or swimming and diving?
A: The recently-renovated gymnastics studio will not be affected. The project does not currently include natatorium improvements. Practice facilities may have minor inconveniences during portions of construction, but the work should not negatively impact the teams during their seasons.
Q: Will seating at men’s basketball be impacted?
A: Yes. Seating will be impacted to some degree with the removal of smaller, bleacher seating and addition of larger, chair back seating in all of level one. The seating plan for the renovation has not been finalized yet, so the impact of seating changes is not specifically known. Once we learn about the specific seating changes to the O’Connell Center and have finalized a seating plan, we will alert our fans of such changes.
Q: Who is working on the renovation?
A: The project is being coordinated through the UF Planning, Design and Construction office with members of the O’Connell Center and University Athletic Association staffs providing input. The design build team includes Brasfield & Gorrie, Davis Architects and TLC Engineering.
Q: Can someone purchase the old seats once they have been removed?
A: Unfortunately, the seats are not functional once removed from their brackets, however the demolition crews are separating the plastic and metal to recycle as much of the material as possible.
Q: How can I support the project?
A: If you are interested in making a gift to help with the renovation, please contact Gator Boosters at (352) 375-4683, Ext. 5000.