Florida has invested $292 million in facility upgrades in the last six years
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – As facility construction progresses on the $85 million Bill Heavener Football Training Center and $7 million soccer/lacrosse clubhouse, the Gators athletic department is adding two additional projects to Phase 3 of the University Athletic Association’s Facilities Master Plan<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_sports_2018_3_23_facilties-2Dmaster-2Dplan.aspx&d=DwIF-g&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=Mu-DoQnGc3Wf6n6nlBfpfrDScEcDeHcyrdrdWUDXWCo&s=RdekxynTNVxa2q2BGj8TNxO-Wzxfym9oxuvIkNt9NiY&e= >.
Florida’s women’s tennis, men’s tennis and baseball programs will all have fresh features for their upcoming spring 2022 seasons as a series of facility upgrades will be made within the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex and Florida Ballpark.
The grandstand at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex will see all bleacher seats replaced with chairbacks and a new shade structure will be installed for comfort.
“We are pleased that Florida tennis fans will now be able to watch our championship tennis teams in an upgraded setting, complete with a shade structure overhead,” athletic director Scott Stricklin<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_staff.aspx-3Fstaff-3D487&d=DwIF-g&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=Mu-DoQnGc3Wf6n6nlBfpfrDScEcDeHcyrdrdWUDXWCo&s=DQxqotivwAJ8QRyCJREcQZ3x7NON7AV2htYzlJVp8kY&e= > said. “We remain thankful to the Ring Family for their continued support to enhance our tennis facilities over the years.”
The $650,000 project is set to begin in October 2021 with a final completion date estimated for January 2022.
“We are excited about the enhancements we have coming to our stadium,” head men’s tennis coach Bryan Shelton<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_staff.aspx-3Fstaff-3D327&d=DwIF-g&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=Mu-DoQnGc3Wf6n6nlBfpfrDScEcDeHcyrdrdWUDXWCo&s=dK6wyINAfo9hK_E–6XpAKP0q9s7b3mNSuyygjkcGCY&e= > said. “The shade structure and beautiful seatbacks will make our fan experience better than ever.
“We appreciate those donors who have committed to helping us with this endeavor. We also are thankful to our administration for finding ways to constantly improve our facility. The support we have here at the University of Florida is very special and we can’t wait for this upcoming season where we can compete in front of our spirited fans.”
“Florida’s donor support has always been second to none,” head women’s tennis coach Roland Thornqvist<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_staff.aspx-3Fstaff-3D330&d=DwIF-g&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=Mu-DoQnGc3Wf6n6nlBfpfrDScEcDeHcyrdrdWUDXWCo&s=9U8QoUqKgmXChI4BGYaXTkBe1M0Pnmr8_ujYZxIXlZE&e= > said. “People want to support our athletic department because of the excellence it represents. We are always grateful for all this support and are really looking forward to the upgrades it allows. Our goal is to be in the top tier of athletic facilities and are thrilled to begin this quest.”
The Florida Ballpark, which opened its doors for the first time last spring, will have permanent outfield restrooms and concessions installed within the Dizney Grove behind the batter’s eye in center field. The $1.1 million structure was part of the original plan for the state-of-the-art ballpark, but was delayed due to budget constraints during the stadium’s initial construction phase.
“As Gator fans saw this past spring, the Florida Ballpark provides them with a variety of first-rate experiences,” Stricklin said. “The addition of permanent outfield concessions and restrooms in the Dizney Grove fulfills the original vision for the ballpark in time for the Gators to host full-capacity crowds this upcoming season.”
The new additions will replace temporary concessions and restroom areas that were in place last season with the goal of providing an enhanced game day experience for those enjoying the action from within Dizney Grove. These improvements will be accessible for all fans in attendance, as one of the many features of the new Florida Ballpark is a 360-degree open concourse and seating arrangement.
The project will be funded directly from the remaining balance of the original $65 million Florida Ballpark budget.
Florida Athletics has invested $292 million in facility upgrades over the last six years, while Gator Boosters, Inc., the fundraising arm of the athletic department, has raised $132 million during that time.
While work on these projects begin, the UAA is looking ahead to components of Phase 4 of the Facilities Master Plan and beyond, including upgrades to the following facilities: swimming and diving, the Lemerand Center – which will impact volleyball and men’s and women’s track and field – the basketball practice facility and a significant renovation and upgrade of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
“It is important to continue to invest in our facilities,” said Stricklin. “We are fortunate to have loyal and generous fans who support our program and our student-athletes.”