UF planning upgrades to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium by June 2024

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Fans do the wave during the Florida Gators' 38-14 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers on Sept. 25 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The University of Florida is expected to make multiple upgrades to the interior of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, including the addition of lower bowl chairbacks, with an expected completion date of June 2024. 

UF intends on selecting a construction services provider for the “UAA-62 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Facility Upgrades project” by the end of this fall. 

The University Athletic Association, citing a study, also listed ADA (Americans with Disabilities) upgrades in the list of planned inclusions, with “aisle widening and handrails.”

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“All concepts and project schedules related to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium are aspirational at this point," said Chip Howard, executive associate athletics director for Internal Affairs at UF. "Any major changes to 'The Swamp' would not occur until a project team is hired. Selection of the project professional team will begin in 2022.”

The upgrades also will include “bench-seat width adjustments, scoreboard upgrades, and east and south concourse upgrades.”

The latest upgrades to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium won’t be the last, however, as the UAA plans on financing another study to evaluate “for potential South End Zone improvements of a Club area and/or Loge Boxes are to be studied.”

The total project budget or construction budget has not been defined pending the completion of the South End Zone study, according to the project documents. 

The pre-design phase for the renovation project is expected to begin Nov. 1, with an expected completion date of Jan. 3, 2022. UF intends to hire a construction manager by Nov. 29. 

Florida has a tentative timeline in mind, according to the project documents. 

Construction won’t begin until the start of the 2022 season, starting with upgrades to the scoreboard and sound system, which are expected to be completed by July 31, 2023, according to the project documents. Less than a month later, UF expects to begin construction on the renovations to the seating bowl, south end zone, and the concourses, with the project expected to conclude August 2, 2024. 

The upgrades will reduce the capacity of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium by thousands of seats, according to the documents, although it’s unclear just how many seats will be removed. 

Construction continues on the new Florida standalone football facility on campus.

UF last renovated Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in 2003 with the addition of 2,900 club seats and luxury suites. Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin, speaking in 2018, said UF planned on providing aesthetic upgrades to the stadium following the completion of the $85 million standalone football complex and the indoor practice facility on what was the home for Florida baseball, Alfred A. McKethan Stadium, next spring. Stricklin provided no timetable at the time, though it’s clear now the program expects to play the 2024 season in an upgraded stadium.