SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Facilities

UF fans snap up new seating

Three-year, $50 million renovation added 5,000 seats, 3,000 club seats and 34 suites.
The $50 million renovation of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was a three-year project in construction, but it took only a fraction of that time for University of Florida officials to sell those new seats.

Virtually all of the new premium seating being added was sold before the Gators began their 2003 summer practices, though sales efforts started just this year. As of early August, all 350 seats on the premier Bull Gator Deck had been sold and all but two of the suites had been leased — with nothing more than a low-key marketing campaign having been used for the new-look stadium, affectionately known as The Swamp.

With a $48,000 annual contribution required for each new suite, a $14,000 annual contribution for a grouping of four seats on the Bull Gator Deck and a $2,000 per seat cost on the club level, revenue for the school will grow along with the stadium. Greg McGarity, Florida's associate athletic director, said projections put 2003 revenue from premium seating at $8 million, compared with an estimated $1.5 million last year.

Other new features in the stadium, originally built in 1930, include renovated press areas and a $1.7 million Daktronics scoring system for the existing scoreboard.

The stadium's new 90,000-seat capacity also ensures that it stays among the 10 largest in college football for this season.

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

City: Gainesville, Fla.

Tenant: University of Florida football

Owner/operator: University of Florida (both)

Architect: DLR Group

General contractor/construction manager: Turner Construction and PPI (joint venture)

No. of seats: Adding 5,000, for a total of 90,000

No. of suites: Adding 34, for a total of 62

No. of club seats: Adding 3,000 (none previously)

Projected cost: $51.7 million

Funding: The University Athletic Association issued $49.5 million in 30-year, tax-exempt bonds to be repaid with stadium revenue. The balance comes from private contributions.

Seat provider: Hussey Seating Co.

First game: Aug. 30 vs. San Jose State

Subcontractor Work performed
Akira Wood Millwork
All Florida Electric Electrical contractor
Architectural Graphics Inc. Signage and graphics
Bliss & Nyitray Structural engineer
Cives Steel Steel
DH Griffin Demolition
Florida Greenkeepers Landscaping
Gate Precast Precast concrete
Kone Corp. Elevators and escalator
Mader Southeast Inc. Fireproofing
Nelson & Affiliates Inc. Drywall
PMK Consultants Sound and PA consultants
Pro Sound AV installer
Register Contracting Inc. Roofing
SB Ballard Foundation concrete
Shivers Painting & Waterproof Painting
Trinity Fabricators Miscellaneous metals
TSG Industries Inc. Curtain wall and glazing
Watson Construction Site work
WW Gay Fire Protection Inc./WW Gay Mechanical Contractor Inc. HVAC, fire protection and plumbing
Sources: University of Florida, University Athletic Association


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