Updated plans were revealed Wednesday for a new University of Florida ballpark, which will host its debut season in 2021 and come with a $65 million price tag.
Earlier this year, the University of Florida unveiled plans for a new ballpark that will serve as a replacement for McKethan Stadium at Perry Field. At the time it was unveiled, it was expected that the facility would cost $50 million, with construction commencing this fall and wrapping up in time for the 2020 season. Some of those plans have changed, however, as Florida will now break ground on the $65 million ballpark in February–pending University of Florida Trustee Board approval–and plan for its baseball program to play its first season there in 2021.
Construction on the new ballpark is actually slated to conclude in June 2020, but it would not be until the following spring that it hosts its inaugural season. These plans were revealed Wednesday, when the University Athletic Association board approved the project’s budget. More from The Gainesville Sun:
“This is an exciting day for Gators baseball and our entire athletic department,” UF athletics director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “While our original hope was to have the ballpark available at the beginning of 2020, and therefore available for play that season, this period of rising construction prices has required additional time to finalize the design, and has caused us to adjust our timeline by a few months.”
The ballpark will have a 360-degree open concourse, shade structure for fans, modern student-athlete and staff amenities, multiple seating and game experience options, high-definition video and sound and enhanced concession space and food options among other improvements.
The updated ballpark plan seemingly increases the overall capacity from the initial iteration. All permanent seats will have chair-backs, and the addition of multiple seating options will bring the overall capacity to 7,000 “with ability to add seating for up to 10,000.”
The baseball park, in addition to ongoing $15 million renovation to softball’s Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium and renovations to the Gators’ track and tennis facilities, makes up Phase II of the UAA’s Facilities Master Plan. Phase I involved the indoor football facility, the Otis Hawkins Center at Farrior Hall and Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center renovation.
The on-campus facility will be built adjacent to soccer and lacrosse’s Dizney Stadium. Building a new ballpark allows Florida to move forward with another key facility plan, which is the construction of a football training complex at the McKethan Stadium site by the end of 2021. Work on that project is currently slated to begin after the baseball program concludes its final season at McKethan Stadium.
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