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Florida planning major renovations on O’Connell Center

NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 04: Head coach Billy Donovan of the Florida Gators talks with athletic director Jeremy Foley on the court as the Gators practice ahead of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium on April 4, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Since beginning play at the Stephen O’Connell Center (nicknamed the O’Dome) in December 1980, Florida has won more than 77 percent of its home games. There have been changes to the facility in recent years as well, with projects resulting in the addition of video boards and a reconfiguration of the lower level of the building.

During the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla. athletic director Jeremy Foley discussed the next step for the O’Connell Center, with Florida currently in the process of planning major renovations on the building that could cost anywhere from $40-$50 million. Florida is in the midst of a fundraising project to help fund the costs of the renovations.

The renovations (according to the report the building will be “completely gutted”) will result in the basketball (men’s and women’s) and volleyball teams needing to find new homes for the 2015-16 season, which could lead to some interesting scheduling for Billy Donovan’s program.

“Well, you have the volleyball season too, but with those pieces still are being figured out,” Foley said. “But as it relates to basketball you’ll probably have to play around the state. Any home games you’d have to move around to Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, what have you, because the building will not be ready.”

UF coach Billy Donovan said the Gators likely will play two games over three days in select cities in Florida, for a total of seven or eight games.

According to Foley the hope is to have the project completed by January 2016, which would have the Gators back in their remodeled home at the start of conference play.

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