The University of Florida Announces New Populous-Designed Ballpark
The University of Florida’s athletic department announced plans to build a new ballpark for the defending NCAA champions on the southwest part of campus today. Designed by Populous in partnership with local firm Walker Architects, the new ballpark is part of phases 2 and 3 of the University Athletic Association’s (UAA) facilities master plan developed to improve the efficiency of the University of Florida’s athletic programs, on-field performance and fan experience. In addition to the ballpark, the master plan includes a renovation to softball’s Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, which Populous is also designing.
“Populous’ reputation and track record speaks for itself. Whether it’s TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, a number of college ballparks or their work with Major and Minor League Baseball stadiums across the country, their resume is truly unmatched,” said University of Florida athletics director Scott Stricklin. “It has been a lot of fun to get in a room and talk ideas and concepts about how to do something special and fun for our baseball program and fans.”
Florida’s new ballpark will be located near the Donald R. Dizney Stadium and Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. It will feature a home plate that faces northeast to put the sun behind the ballpark for a cooler atmosphere for the student-athletes and fans. A 360-degree open concourse will give fans constant field views and multiple seating options will be under shade.
“We are really excited about this project. Once it is completed, our student-athletes and staff will have first-class facilities that rival any program in the country,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, University of Florida head baseball coach. “In addition, the new stadium will be much more suited to provide an outstanding experience for our fans. The administration has some unique ideas to ensure that the fan experience will be like nowhere else.”
Permanent seats will increase from 2,408 to approximately 5,000, while fans will also be able to choose from premium seating and non-traditional seating options to bring overall capacity to approximately 10,000. Enhanced concession space with new food options will also be available for fans, while student-athletes and staff will enjoy modern amenities and larger team areas. Construction for the estimated $50 million baseball ballpark will begin in the fall of 2018 with a completion goal prior to the 2020 season.
“Few programs have the history and tradition of the Gators, who have advanced to Omaha for the College World Series eight of the last nine seasons, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to design their new home,” said Jason Ford, senior associate at Populous. “The new ballpark will combine the architecture of Florida’s campus with features that speak to the university’s culture to provide an unforgettable fan experience.”
The renovations to Katie Seashole Pressley Softball Stadium, also designed by Walker Architects and Populous, include a 360-degree open concourse, shade structures, an elevated press box and new amenities for players and fans alike. Construction will begin this summer with a goal for completion prior to the 2019 season.
To learn more about creating memorable experiences for collegiate baseball fans and players alike, contact Rich Polzin.