O’Connell Center renovations delayed one year

The University of Florida and the University Athletic Association announced on Wednesday night that renovations to the O’Connell Center would be postponed for one year.

The renovations were supposed to start as soon as Florida’s home basketball schedule came to an end.

The release blamed “an aggressive schedule, escalating costs associated with the rehabilitation project and a change in the construction management team” for the project needing to be pushed back one year.

“The renovation proposal is a major renewal of one of our campus’s most iconic buildings. It’s incumbent on us to take the time and do it right,” UF President Kent Fuchs said.

The construction management team’s design plans are 60 percent done, and the year delay allows them to be completed. The release also said that a new construction manager was brought in and that a construction schedule and budget should be coming in the next couple months.

All sports that use the O’Connell Center will continue to do so during the 2015-16 athletic season, including men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics.

“We remain 100 percent committed to this project,” UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said. “The $60 million that we have already earmarked for the project is indicative of this commitment.”

The O’Connell Center opened in 1981 and seats 11,548. When renovated, it will include new concessions, club seating, a club lounge, a new concourse, more comfortable seating, a high-definition video board, new sound system and updates to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

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