The University of Florida Athletic Department announced an updated timeline and budget Wednesday for UF’s new baseball park, in addition to detailing Phase III of the planned facilities upgrades.
The Gators baseball stadium, initially estimated to cost $50 million, will have a $65 million budget and will break ground in February, the university announced.
Florida announced a planned completion date of June 2020, with the 2021 season marking UF’s debut in the ballpark, located on the southwest part of campus adjacent to Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
UF initially intended to break ground in Fall 2018, with the ballpark opening in time for the 2020 season.
“This is an exciting day for Gators baseball and our entire athletic department,” UF athletics director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “While our original hope was to have the ballpark available at the beginning of 2020, and therefore available for play that season, this period of rising construction prices has required additional time to finalize the design, and has caused us to adjust our timeline by a few months.”
The ballpark will have a 360-degree open concourse, shade structure for fans, modern student-athlete and staff amenities, multiple seating and game experience options, high-definition video and sound and enhanced concession space and food options among other improvements.
The updated ballpark plan seemingly increases the overall capacity from the initial iteration. All permanent seats will have chair-backs, and the addition of multiple seating options will bring the overall capacity to 7,000 “with ability to add seating for up to 10,000.”
The baseball park, in addition to ongoing $15 million renovation to softball’s Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium and renovations to the Gators’ track and tennis facilities, makes up Phase II of the UAA’s Facilities Master Plan. Phase I involved the indoor football facility, the Otis Hawkins Center at Farrior Hall and Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center renovation.
The work at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium is nearing completion, the university announced, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for Feb. 12 prior to UF’s exhibition game vs. the Japanese National Team.
“You get one chance to build these types of facilities. Facilities that will change the landscape of a program for generations to come,” Stricklin said. “It’s exciting to think of the impact the new ballpark will have on future Gators players, coaches and fans.”
Furthermore, the athletic department detailed the upcoming Phase III of planned facilities upgrades involving the football training complex.
The complex will be located at the site currently occupied by McKethan Stadium. The project will break ground following UF’s baseball season in June of 2020, with completion of construction intended before 2021. Ultimately, Phases I-III of the “Facilities Master Plan” will total $285 million, with $155 million coming from private support through Gator Boosters, Inc. So far, Gator Boosters Executive Director Phill Pharr said the organization has raised more than half — $86 million — of the desired amount.
“We are fortunate that Gator Nation shares in our vision of delivering a championship experience. We are appreciative of their investment into the future of Gator Athletics and the individual life-changing opportunities our student-athletes have available to them in Gainesville,” Pharr said in a statement. “We are experiencing tremendous momentum and know we can count on Gator Nation to step up once again and help make the investments necessary to continue providing a championship experience with integrity.”