Photos: Demolition phase begins for O’Connell Center renovation

The O’Connell Center is getting a facelift.

(Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications)

(Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications)

A major step toward that facelift took place last week with the beginning of the demolition phase. The $64.5 million renovation of the O’Connell Center is scheduled to be completed in December 2016 for the University of Florida’s fall semester commencement.

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“It’s really exciting. It’s a culmination of 21 months since we had our first construction meeting,”  UF Executive Associate Athletics Director for Internal Affairs Chip Howard said in a statement. “The design team and construction management firm have worked really hard, so it’s a big day to finally get underway with a very important, critical project here for the university.”

The renovation plans for the O’Connell Center include a seating bowl update, the addition of premium seating areas, installation of a state-of-the-art center-hung scoreboard, upgrades to team spaces and an enhanced concourse to improve the fan experience.

While the renovation is taking place, Florida’s girls volleyball team will play its 2016 home schedule at Santa Fe College. Florida’s basketball teams will also be displaced for most of the non-conference portions of their 2016-17 seasons, as they plan to play some of those games around the state of Florida, in cities and venues to be determined.

“From a sound and lighting standpoint, we’ll have an all-new sound system, a new LED lighting system, a center-hung scoreboard, supplemental scoreboards to enhance the fan experience, expanded restrooms, expanded gates, a 360-degree concourse, premium seating that we’ve never had before in the O’Connell Center, as well as brand new systems – HVAC, plumbing, electrical,” Howard said of the renovation.

Here are more photos of the early demolition activities …

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Photo provided by Tim Casey / UAA Communications.

Here are artist renderings of the finished product …

Artist rendering of O’Connell Center provided by UAA.

Artist rendering of O’Connell Center provided by UAA.

Artist rendering of O’Connell Center provided by UAA.

Artist rendering of O’Connell Center provided by UAA.

Artist rendering of O’Connell Center provided by UAA.

Artist rendering of O’Connell Center provided by UAA.

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