O’Connell Center on schedule to be ready for December commencement

November 29, 2016
Steve Orlando
photographer: Lyon Duong, UF Communications
commencement, O\'Connell Center, O\'Dome

Crews are working non-stop on renovations at the University of Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center, which UF officials say will be ready in time for fall commencement scheduled for Dec. 16.

Progress on the $64.5 million project, which began in October 2015, is on schedule, said O’Connell Center director Lynda Reinhart.

“After more than a year of construction work, it is very exciting to see everything coming together.  We cannot wait to show off the new building to our fans and guests,” Reinhart said. “I think people will be really amazed at the transformation that has taken place over the past several months.”

Work left to be done includes painting and the installation of tile, flooring, cabinetry and concessions equipment, as well as landscaping, she said.

“We’re extremely excited about the upcoming completion of Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center project next month,” said Chip Howard, executive associate director for internal affairs at the University Athletic Association. “The partnership between UAA and UF on managing this project has been fantastic, and the construction team at Brasfield and Gorrie has been working around the clock, seven days a week to make sure that the facility is complete, not only for commencement but for all of the events scheduled in December and beyond. 

“The fan experience will be second to none when you walk in to the new arena, and we look forward to all of our patrons being able to experience this new facility,” Howard said.

In June, UF’s Board of Trustees approved the naming rights of the main arena space to locally based Exactech, a medical orthopedic device company that has significant ties to the university and provided a $5.9 million sponsorship.

The Stephen C. O’Connell Center has been a community icon since it opened in December 1980. The arena is home to several University of Florida athletics teams including men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and men’s and women’s swimming and diving. In addition, the arena is the proud home to University of Florida commencement and several community events like Dance Marathon, charity events and concerts.

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