Gators eager to set foot inside Heavener Training Center
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Construction crews began demolishing McKethan Stadium two years ago. The University Athletic Association held a closing ceremony to mark the placement of the entrance beam last summer. And over the past year, the shiny new showcase for Florida’s football program has gone from a long-held vision to reality.
The Gators finally move into their new Heavener football practice facility on Sunday. The $85 million, 142,000 square foot training facility instantly becomes the crown jewel of UF’s athletics facilities and serves as a model cover for recruiting efforts and a home for players .
“A lot of time, energy and certainly investment from a lot of our fans has gone into improving our facilities,” the Gators head coach said. Billy Napier said this week. “Everyone wants to talk about recruitment when it comes to the facility, but I think it’s more important for our player experience. It screams commitment and certainly the efficiency of how we’re going to be able to improve. as an organization.
“Time is running out and I believe the new facility will create more efficiencies for everyone involved.”
While the UF football team will begin work from the building on Sunday, there are some to-do list items to settle before the end of the month. The facility will be open to the rest of the UF student-athletes as the first day of classes approaches.
— Scott Stricklin (@ScottStricklin) August 8, 2022
The facility features a striking part of the front quadrant that will be open to all UF student-athletes and includes a dining hall, lounge, hair salon, virtual reality room, game center and golf, as well as a resort-style swimming pool (65,000 gallons) with basketball courts and multipurpose lawns and volleyball courts.
Meanwhile, the building is not only home to state-of-the-art strength and training areas (13,000 square feet worth, all attached to the Condron Family’s indoor training center), but a place where all UF student-athletes can come to socialize. That said, the primary purpose of the facility is to modernize the football program workplace and allow the team to move out of the outdated designated football space of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Sixth-year senior linebacker Ventell Miller is grateful to still be here for the opening and to find out what the establishment will offer.
“I think it’s just going to start a fire,” Miller said. “I feel like whenever you get something new, you’re always happy to check it out and see what it’s all about. They told me it would be here since I was first year. They have basketball courts, swimming pools and the training room will be much better. I love everything about it.”
The team’s main dressing room on match day will still be at the stadium, but the Heavener Center has been designed to allow the team to operate at the highest level of logistical efficiency.
The project has been a focal point for the Gators athletic director Scott Stricklinand after years of planning, fundraising and building, Sunday ushers in a new era for the football program.
“The Heavener Training Center will be a special facility for the University of Florida football program and all of our student-athletes, and it took the support and dedication of many people to make this a reality,” said the director. UF sportsman. Scott Stricklin. “This is a tangible demonstration that we are committed to investing in our student-athletes and enhancing their experience at UF. Without our boosters, this project would not have been possible, and we are grateful for how they have contributed to this vision. The individuals on campus, here at UAA, and within the teams that have brought Heavener Center to life are too numerous to name, but we appreciate the level of pride and care that has gone into planning and executing every detail.
offensive lineman Michael Tarquin is looking forward to moving into the new building before the start of the season. Like his teammates, he has seen the facility rise from the ground over the past two years and relished the opportunity to call it home.
“Personally, I can’t wait,” Tarquin said. “It’s something I’ve seen since I was a rookie in high school and I know all the other guys I’ve played with; we can’t wait. I think it’s going to be a game changer. There’s there are a lot of great things that are going to happen in this facility and they are going to help us a lot to perform at a high level.
“Perfect setup. We don’t have to worry about walking to training anymore. It’s all there.”
Once the final interior details are complete, the UAA plans to arrange a media tour of the facility at a later date.