O’Connell Center renovation plans set

The O’Connell Center renovation project took an important step forward on Tuesday.

The University of Florida announced that it inked construction authorization paperwork with construction firm Brasfield & Gorrie on the O’Connell Center renovation. UF and the University Athletic Association are partnering to fund and manage the project, which will cost $64.5 million.

The project will include a seating bowl update, the addition of premium seating areas, installation of a state-of-the-art center-hung scoreboard, upgrades to the team spaces and an enhanced concourse for fans, according to a UF release.

The planning stages of the project are finished and pre-bid meetings with subcontractors began on Tuesday. The building will remain fully operational until the project begins in the spring, but construction fences will begin to appear in October.

The renovations will impact the UF athletics schedule. Men’s basketball will play home games around the state of Florida during the 2016-17 non-conference schedule. The women’s program will play a similar schedule, although UF said it will not be identical. The 2016 volleyball home games will be played at Santa Fe College, which began its volleyball program in 2014.

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