UF Board of Trustees approves plan for $130 million in facility upgrades

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New baseball stadium
A conceptual rendering of the UF baseball stadium. [Courtesy of UF]

The University Athletic Association took the next step in a $130-million facilities upgrade Friday, announcing details for the new stand alone football facility, a new baseball stadium and significant renovations to the softball stadium.

The announcement from the athletic department came after the University of Florida Board of Trustees approved a bond resolution for $50 million for Phase II of UAA’s Facilities Master Plan.

The Board of Governors still has to approve the bond resolution at the end of June.

“We want to invest wisely in our infrastructure to enhance our student-athlete and fan experiences,” UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said. “And we want to make sure that we are making the best long-term decisions to create championship experiences with integrity for all of those that touch our programs. Our athletic department is consistently among the top five in the nation, and it is our intent that all three of these facilities mirror that.”

The stand alone football facility will be constructed on the site of the current baseball stadium (McKethan Stadium) at a cost of $65 million. Construction is expected to begin in late 2019 or early 2020, with a goal of completion in 2021.

The facility will be located right next to the practice field and indoor practice facility and will include meeting rooms, locker rooms, strength and conditioning areas, training rooms and coaches’ offices.

Architects and engineers for the project are HKO.


Click here for a photo gallery of the UAA’s conceptual renderings.


In UF’s original plan, the stand alone football facility was to be built west of the practice field and be a three-story structure, while the baseball stadium was going to be renovated.

After further study, the decision was made to build a new baseball stadium and put the football facility where the baseball stadium is now located, giving it much more space and avoiding making it a three-story structure.

“We are excited to know that our national championship softball and baseball teams are getting upgrades for their respective facilities and fans will have a great experience in their new stadiums,” UF football coach Dan Mullen said. “I’m also thankful for the deliberative and strategic approach we are taking in building our football training complex. We will build the top facility for the University of Florida football program with the number one emphasis on doing what is best for the development of our players.”

The new baseball stadium is going to be built on 13.63 acres of land previously occupied by UF/IFAS on Hull Road across from the softball stadium and the lacrosse stadium. The estimated $50 million project is scheduled to begin in the fall of this year. The goal is to have the stadium completed before the start of the 2020 season.

Overall capacity of the stadium will be 10,000, with permanent chairbacks increasing from 2,408 to 5,000. Premium seating and non-traditional seating options also will be available.

At the new location, homeplate will face northeast, with the sun behind the stadium.

The stadium will feature a 360-degree open concourse and seating, with multiple sections shaded from the sun.

The project also includes locker rooms, a players’ lounge, batting cages, an adjacent practice field, coaches’ offices and state of the art video board and sound system.

Architects for the project are Populous and Walker Architects, who designed Yankee Stadium.

“We are really excited about this project. Once it is completed, our student-athletes and staff will have first-class facilities that rival any program in the country,” UF baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “In addition, the new stadium will be much more suited to provide an outstanding experience for our fans. The administration has some unique ideas to ensure that the fan experience will be like nowhere else.”

As part of the project, UAA will be contributing $3 million to IFAS to benefit College of Agricultural and Life Science students.

The first project to be addressed in Phase II is Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium, which will be undergoing an $11 million renovation starting this summer. Work is expected to be completed before the start of the 2019 season.

The project includes a new, elevated press box, increasing field seating — all chairback — from 1,431 to about 2,280 and modern student-athlete and staff amenities, including locker room and sports medicine.

UAA announced that it has identified funding for $73 million of the $130 million for Phase II. The remaining funding will come from UF boosters and other donors.

Phase I of the Facilities Master Plan was completed over the past 18 months with the renovation of the O’Connell Center, construction of the football indoor practice facility and the completion of the Hawkins Center at Farrior Hall.

Upgrades to The Swamp will be part of Phase III of the Master Plan, which will begin after the completion of Phase II.

The overall cost for Phase I was $108.5 million.

16 COMMENTS

  1. It’s about time. Agree with Tim that our facilities severely lack those at FSU — be it football, basketball or baseball. It’s no wonder they’re historically perceived as the state’s best in virtually every major sports. Hopefully the much needed upgrades will finally convince top recruits to come here instead!

    • “Historically perceived”. By who? That’s highly debatable. Not in football – We’ve won 3 National Championships as well and owned FSU before Bowden got there. Hardly ever in basketball as we’ve won 2 national championships and FSU has only been to one final four. Maybe in baseball but still FSU has NEVER won a national championship and now we have.

  2. I haven’t heard that our facilities are behind FSU as much as some other schools. And evidently FSU is way behind TX A&M as that was the reason given by Jimbo for leaving. For sure we are behind Clemson and Bama in football facilities. The stand alone building will go a long ways towards fixing that. Now we need the on field product in football to catch up to all our other sports. Go Gators!!

    • Actually, Jimbo used that as a pretext with FSU — the facilities there are some of the best available and certainly better than ours. FSU admin called his bluff and didn’t offer a single cent to keep him. Regardless, my point is that our facilities should be significantly better than they are and finally it looks like we’re making the necessary effort and investments. Go Gators!

  3. October 2017
    Sticklin: Jim, the football team took a couple of tough losses. Lost by 1 to LSU and by 2 to Texas A&M. How is the team looking for the Georgia game?

    McElwain: Yeah, we’ll clean up the mistakes. We’ll give another quarterback a try. And yet, all of our goals are still in front of us. We are still in first place in the East having already beaten Kentucky and #23 Tennessee. We’ll be ready to roll with an explosive offense and kick down the doors in Jacksonville.

    Stricklin: Glad to hear that. I see that recruiting has been going well. Your 2018 class is ranked #7 and closing in on a top 5 finish. Your 2019 class is #1 in the nation.

    McElwain: Thanks to all your hard work, the recruits really like the new IPF on their visits and we’ve been selling them on the new Stand Alone Facility that will be under construction by December.

    Stricklin: Ummm…about that the Stand Alone, we are going to delay that project a few years and do the baseball and softball projects first.

    McElwain (sounding dejected): I think we got some death threats.

    Stricklin: Want to talk about it?

    McElwain: No.

    Stricklin: Then you’re fired.

    McElwain: You’ll have to pay my buyout.

    Stricklin: No I don’t. You are fired for cause.

    McElwain: I’ll go public and see you in court.

    Stricklin: OK, I’ll pay $7.5 million to hush you up.

    McElwain (on the way to the bank): HAHAHAHA!!!!

    November, 2017
    Stricklin: Dan, here’s $6 Million a year for 6 years. Welcome to back to Gainesville.

    Mullen: Wow! This has been the best Thanksgiving ever, even better than our best Christmas. Megan and I are so excited to be back. By the way, she was only kidding about the spoiled Gator fans. She loves shopping in Orlando AND in Gainesville.

    Stricklin: What do you think of the players you are inheriting?

    Mullen: This is still the University of Florida. We always have talent. I promise we will have the players give relentless effort in everything they do.

    Stricklin: Glad to hear that. What do you think of our facilities?

    Mullen: It hadn’t changed much since I was here last. We are way, way, way, way behind on some facilities.

    Sticklin: You know the last guy didn’t like our facilities either.

    Mullen: On the other hand, we have some unbelievable facilities at the University of Florida. Some. So in some areas we’re way, way, way, way AHEAD.

    Stricklin: Atta boy! You’re my coach.

  4. I don’t like delaying the stand-alone football facility by a few years. We are already “way, way, way, way behind.” It should be the first priority. They could make it happen if they really wanted to. I understand they want it to be adjacent/connected to the IPF/outdoor practice field. Why couldn’t they build it to the north, west, or east? Each option has to relocate something but seems like building it to the south where McKethan sits is the worst and most challenging option. It is the most expensive and logistically challenged option, especially delaying the the football facility by a few years while they build a new baseball stadium first. Seems like moving the track and field throwing areas (west), president’s house and park (north), or parking lot/garage (east) would be a lot cheaper and easier than moving a baseball stadium. Is the President’s house and park sacred? Why not relocate the parking areas? If the driving force is having a brand new baseball stadium, which I’m OK with, then build the new football facility (to the east) and the new baseball stadium concurrently now and then relocate the parking to where McKethan currently sits after it’s demolished. Are they holding the football facility hostage because of funding knowing it’s a lot easier to secure funding for football than baseball and softball?

      • If funding is the issue, why not seek a $100 million bond instead of $50 mil? If they don’t raise another $57 million within two years from boosters and naming rights, they’ll have to increase the bond then. Any of the other three alternate locations for the stand alone football facility would not have delayed it’s construction.