GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The new football season will bring a new and improved room for the Florida Gators to convene.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on upgrades to the auditorium in the south end zone of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium that hosts team meetings and athletic news conferences. The $600,000 project will be completed in time for when the team reports for fall practice Thursday.
The Gators open the 2013 campaign Aug. 31 at home against Toledo.
“The area, though it’s served its function very well, we just kind of outgrew it, both from a facilities standpoint and technological standpoint,” said Chip Howard, executive associate athletics director for internal affairs. “What we’ve done is use our space much more efficiently, meaning our team members, coaches and support staff will have much more comfortable place to meet.”
Among the improvements:
* The room’s dropped ceiling has been raised for a more open feel.
* Better lighting package.
* New audio visual and sound systems.
* Larger, more comfortable chairs -- and more of them (141 from 126), thanks to the removal of dividing wall that cut the middle of the room.
* Colorful new graphics package.
The south end project is one of several either under construction or due to begin in the coming months, Howard said.
A new meeting room for the swimming and diving teams inside the O’Connell Center is scheduled for completion in early September. The training table upgrades at Gator Dining also are nearly finished, while renovated meeting rooms and storage projects for volleyball at the Lemerand Center are set to begin after the 2013 season ends in December.