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February 9, 2016

Sports Business


Cynthia Barnett | 8/1/2007

It’s a good thing the Gators are national football champs this year; otherwise, it might be harder to raise money for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium renovations now that the price tag has doubled to $28 million.

Renovation costs for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium jumped from $241 a square foot to $400 in two years.
UF Athletic Association officials blame construction costs, which have grown from $241 a square foot to $400 in the two years since the project began. Slated to be finished in 2008, the project includes upgraded offices for coach Urban Meyer and his staff; a weight room triple the size of the old one; a “Gator room” for banquets and entertaining; and a Gator football hall of fame that will allow UF to show off its national championship and Heisman trophies.

A grand new entrance will be named for James W. “Bill” Heavener, the project’s lead donor, who is co-chairman of Full Sail Real World Education, an entertainment/media college in Orlando. UF sports information officer Steve McClain says he expects donor funds will cover 100% of the project.

Meanwhile, no grand renovations are in the works for basketball coach Billy Donovan, who brought World War III-worthy headlines to Gainesville this summer when he decided to leave for the Orlando Magic, then changed his mind and decided to stick with the Gators? The Gators basketball program got a $10-million, state-of-the-art complex in 2001, McClain says.

Higher Education
Higher Impact?

A new study says the University of Florida contributes $5.85 billion to the state’s economy. The research was conducted by ... UF. With an annual investment of around $665 million from the state, the study says, Florida gets an $8.80 return for each dollar it spends on UF. Other findings:

  • 75,000 — number of jobs UF is responsible for statewide, with 34,000 people employed in Gainesville
  • $3.95 billion — UF’s total revenue, with 45% of that coming from out- side Florida, including funding from federal research grants and health- care services
  • 3.5 million — number of visitors to campus each year — another 1 million attend athletic events

Tags: Northeast, Education

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