Finally Home Sweet Home


Published: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Pat McMahon had a secret.

Facts

McKethan renovation Construction on the $13 million project began in the Summer of 2005 and was completed in October of 2006. The renovation of the baseball stadium and Lemerand Center included:

  • Baseball locker rooms (top)
  • Reception area (above)
  • Indoor bullpen/batting cage (right)
  • Coaches' offices
  • Audio/video rooms
  • 1,000 new seats
Florida catcher Teddy Foster studies history between classes in the Gators' new locker room at McKethan Stadium. Foster says it's nice to have a place to eat, study, relax and bond with teammates.Ready for Gator baseball?Photo page, 6C

It was so discreet, even his assistant coaches weren't aware. McMahon finally surprised his team when he abruptly halted a fall practice back in October at McKethan Stadium.

McMahon told his team they had finally earned the right to occupy their new home. McMahon then led the Gators off the field and into the team's sparkling new locker room behind the third base dugout.

For a team without a locker room a year ago, the lavish new digs were a glorious sight.

"It was a pretty emotional moment," McMahon said. "For the returning players, who had been void of that for a while, it was neat to see the light in their eyes. Obviously, the new players saw that. It was a pretty neat, team-building deal."

Florida's new locker room is part of a $13 million renovation to McKethan Stadium and the Lemerand Center. The project includes new coaches' offices, meeting rooms, audio/visual rooms, locker rooms, training rooms, an indoor bullpen/batting cage, in addition to approximately 1,000 new seats.

The Gators old locker room was located inside the Lemerand Center down the right field line. The team was forced out when construction began prior to last season. As a result, players often changed clothes in bathrooms, hallways or in any nook conceivable last year.

With the baseball team now out of the Lemerand Center, the building now has more room for Florida's volleyball, soccer and track teams.

As a result of the renovations, Florida will move from the first to third base dugout beginning this season.

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