James W. "Bill" Heavener Complex
Head coach Urban Meyer wanted to "wow" recruits and fans when they came through the front door of the football facility. After an overwhelming response from the Gator Boosters, that’s exactly what the new James W. "Bill" Heavener Football Complex will do.
"This is the first athletic facility project in our history that, from the planning stage, was to be funded 100% privately," said Phil Pharr, Senior Director of Development for Gator Boosters, Inc. "In about a year and a half, we had 16 donors step up and commit the entire $28 million. Not many schools in the country have the fan base that could pull that off. This is just one more (and an incredibly large) example of what sets the University of Florida apart from most of our peers."
After 18 months of construction, the facility finally opened in mid-July, in time to showcase it during the upcoming 2008 season. The new “Gateway of Champions” is a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly building that will help the Gators on and off the field.
"What we had wasn't representative of a football program of this stature, not just front-door wise, but office-wise," Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said. "Our offices were abysmal, the meeting space was horrible, the video space was even worse – we just couldn't do our jobs. The weight room was the same way – it was just too small."
The new facility has addressed all these issues – the Tom Johnson Family Head Coach's Office& Conference Room and Lemerand Football Offices have expanded and undergone a complete renovation, the Griffin-Oakley Strength & Conditioning Complex has more than doubled in size, the new Don & Irene Dizney Gator Room will host recruits and their families on game day and the Bryan E. Kornblau Foyer will highlight the proud history and tradition of Florida Football.