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What the Florida Gators want in $400 million renovation to The Swamp

More shade and premium seating updates are among the options listed in UF’s job posting for an architect.
 
The Florida Gators want to look at every part of The Swamp in their $400 million renovation to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The Florida Gators want to look at every part of The Swamp in their $400 million renovation to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [ GARY MCCULLOUGH | AP ]
Published July 11, 2023

The Florida Gators$400 million plan to renovate The Swamp could include more shaded seats, new food and drink options and less congestion around the iconic facility.

Those are among the possibilities mentioned in the school’s posting for an architect to lead the multi-phase update to the 93-year-old venue, formally called Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The Gators announced the start of their search for a designer last week and said the project would touch “every phase of the fan experience.” Though the details will be worked through in the coming weeks and months, the posting shares some possibilities of what that might look like:

More shade. The ad mentions recommended locations to add shade in the seating bowl. It also references more shade and flexible seating/standing areas inside and outside the gates.

An improved seating bowl. “This will include an evaluation of seat count and types of seating,” the post reads. UF is also open to ideas for “other specialty public areas.”

Better premium seating. The look at suites and club areas will include evaluating the glass and restroom setups. The size and location of the press box will also be analyzed along with the possibility of a new, separate kitchen/catering area for premium sections.

More uses. Tailgating setups, more retail space, dedicated amenities for alumni and donors and new and expanded “food and beverage concepts” are among the items to be considered.

The Florida Gators will consider tailgating and other setups as they pursue a $400 million renovation to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The Florida Gators will consider tailgating and other setups as they pursue a $400 million renovation to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [ Times (2018) ]

Easier flow. The project could include more space at entrances and throughout older concourses. It’s expected to look at ways to improve circulation vertically and so fans can get from their seats to restrooms and concessions.

New uses for current spaces. The opening of the Heavener Football Training Center last year vacated office areas at the building. The Gators want recommendations for how to use those spaces, including premium clubs, lounges or a kitchen. Other athletic offices could be reconfigured “if this offers the chance to improve the fan experience.”

Better sights and sounds. UF will look for recommendations for the sound system and scoreboard and consider landscaping and other architectural changes “that might improve the status and non-game day use of the building on campus.”

“The goal is to preserve the energy and history, while upgrading systems and spaces to better serve the University of Florida community and offer a broader variety of game experiences,” the post reads.

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The Gators have not yet announced a full timetable for the renovations. A pre-proposal meeting for interested architects is scheduled for July 26 with applications due Aug. 7.

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