Florida looks to add indoor practice facility

This is one thing that has been a long time coming.

Finally, the University of Florida football program should have an indoor practice facility to accommodate the team for practices during rough weather. When the University of Georgia moved to build an indoor facility over the summer, the Gator program would have been the only one without one in the Southeastern conference.

It just makes too much sense.

Florida is the lightning capital of the world and there is never a football practice season that isn’t effected by bad weather. Safety precautions require the team to clear the fields if lightning strikes within a 6-mile perimeter of the practice location. There is at least a 30-minute wait at that point.

This has been a merciless season in terms of lightning storms in central Florida and practices have been altered all fall because of it. The Gators also had to cancel the opening football game of the season against Idaho as three hours of lightning and bad conditions made it unsafe to play the game.

Florida has budgeted up to 11.9 million dollars and is accepting bids on the project for a location in the northeast quadrant of the current practice fields. That would place it at the NW 2nd street corner entrance to the O’Connell Center Parking lot.

A common myth about the indoor practice facilities is that they are palatial buildings that are some kind of eye candy for recruiting. In fact, most are usually nothing more than large warehouse type buildings with the specific purpose to house the football team away from the bad weather outside. That weather could also include extreme heat which is all too common in Florida as well.

One recruiting advantage will be when there is bad weather during camps. This past June a few days of camp were lost because of lightning storms that forced campers away from the practice fields and into shelter. Instead, they would head to the new facility and camp there.

It has been a long time coming and for good reason. This is a step in the right direction.

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