Plans to orchestrate a complete facelift of the O’Connell Center have been postponed for a year, the UAA announced yesterday.
There were a few reasons for the delay, including a change in the construction management team, suddenly increasing costs and an overly demanding construction schedule. But Jeremy Foley and President Kent Fuchs remain 100% on board with the overhaul. It’s still going to happen, it just won’t be until after next year’s spring sports end. UF has already invested $60 million dollars into this project, and it’s not like they can afford to renovate the O’Dome every other year, so they’re going to make damn sure they do it right. Even if that means putting the whole thing off for another year.
This shouldn’t have too big of an impact on Florida’s 2015-16 basketball schedule. The Gators were originally supposed to play the role of road warriors in the early part of the season- the non conference slate- before the completion of the project in time for the SEC opener. Florida was scheduled to be playing plenty of “road” games where they’ll be sure to have tons of fans, including at Miami, at Jacksonville and their annual appearance in the Orange Bowl in Sunrise, to ensure that they wouldn’t really feel like road warriors.
But this actually works out OK for Florida, as now they can host the SEC/Big 12 Challenge as well as Florida State next year the way they’re scheduled to, and simply pay their return visits to the two schools two years from now, when the O’Dome is undergoing renovations. They can then finish their non conference slate with some home games when the renovations are complete, and everything will be OK.
Assuming the team itself is, of course.