Foley: UF close to funding O'Dome overhaul

This image is one of several conceptual drawings showing planned renovations to the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. (Photo courtesy of UF)

Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 2:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 6:29 p.m.

DESTIN - Florida is closing in on getting the necessary financial funding to begin major renovations on the O’Connell Center after the 2015-16 season, UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said Wednesday at the SEC Spring Meetings.

"We have some Board of Directors meetings coming up and Board of Trustees meetings coming up and we still have some money to raise,” Foley said. “But I'm confident that all these things will come together in the next couple of weeks. We'll certainly know more in about two weeks.

“I'm confident we're closing in on where we need to be."

Foley said the O’Dome will be completely gutted. The project will cost an estimated $45-50 million.

"Timetable hopefully is to start construction after next year's basketball season and be ready by January 2016,” Foley said. “That would be a perfect world."

With construction still underway in the fall of 2015, the basketball and volleyball teams will have to find other venues to play home games.

"Well, you have the volleyball season too, but with those pieces still are being figured out,” Foley said. “But as it relates to basketball you'll probably have to play around the state. Any home games you'd have to move around to Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, what have you, because the building will not be ready."

UF coach Billy Donovan said the Gators likely will play two games over three days in select cities in Florida, for a total of seven or eight games.

“It will be pretty neat if we get it to work out the way we hope,” Donovan said.

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