Last July the University of Florida began working on design plans to renovate the O’Connell Center, which is home to five teams including the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Estimated to cost in upwards of $64.5 million, the renovations are much-needed for a facility that hosted its first men’s basketball game in December 1980.
Tuesday the school announced that it has taken the next step in the project, with contractor Brasfield & Gorrie being authorized to carry out the project. According to the school release construction will begin this fall, with the building remaining available for use until next spring.
Among the changes will be the removal of bleacher seating in favor of chair back seating throughout the first level of the O’Connell Center (premium seating) and a new scoreboard that will hang over center court. As a result of the renovations teams will find new homes to play their games in the early part of the 2016-17 campaign, with the men’s basketball program expected to play at multiple venues throughout the state according to the release.
The O’Connell Center last underwent renovations in 2011, when the school reconfigured the lower level bleachers.