Florida planning $45M renovation to O'Dome - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Florida planning $45M renovation to O'Dome

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DESTIN, Fla. (AP) -- Florida is closing in on final approval for a $45 million renovation to its on-campus basketball facility, the O'Connell Center.

Athletic director Jeremy Foley said Wednesday that some of the funds still need to be raised.

"But I'm confident that all these things will come together in the next couple of weeks," he said at the Southeastern Conference meetings.

Foley said construction would begin after the 2014-15 basketball season. The O'Dome would be ready to reopen in January 2016, with upgraded amenities and luxury boxes.

The shutdown would create a scheduling issue since the Gators wouldn't have a home facility for games in November and December. But coach Billy Donovan said he is working on a schedule that would have his team play two games over three days in select cities around the state. So Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and Sunrise would host Florida home games.

"It'll be pretty neat if we get it to work out the way we hope," Donovan said.

The facility, which originally cost $14 million to build, opened in 1980. It has undergone several renovations since, including a $10 million face-lift in 1998, a $2.5 million project in 1999 and another $2.5 million upgrade in 2006. The latest restoration would top them all -- assuming the final funding gets passed at upcoming board of trustees meetings.

Foley assured that the Gators are "closing in on where we need to be."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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