GAINESVILLE, Fla. — "The Swamp" is getting a makeover—and the Florida Gators are expecting to spend at least $400 million for its aging and iconic stadium.
Recently the organization announced plans to hire an architect for the design to revamp the field. This was the first public step in the process that's been in discussion for years.
Athletic director Scott Stricklin says it's "premature to speculate" on the final cost, seating capacity and a specific timeline. But he made it clear the project's main goal will be to transform the game-day experience for fans.
He added the goal is to create one of the most daunting home-field advantages in the Southeastern Conference.
"Whatever work we do there doesn't need to be a Band-Aid," Stricklin said at the league's spring meetings last month. "It needs to be a multigenerational solution to continue to give that stadium for future generations a chance to come and watch the Gators there."
He added that it has to be everything from how fans experience when they're outside the stadium to when they walk through the gate, concession stands and restrooms.
The stadium first opened as a 22,000-seat facility in 1930. It has been expanded several times in nearly a century since, with capacity now at roughly 90,000, but it lacks many of the conveniences experienced in modern NFL venues.
Renovating the Swamp would be the latest — and by far most expensive — facility upgrade on campus.
"It's what kind of experience are you creating on game day? What kind of memories are coming from those experiences? Do people want to plan their lives around coming back to enjoy that experience again? We sell tickets and we sell T-shirts. Beyond that, it's we want to create experiences — and winning is a big part of that experience — but you've got to have all the other pieces."
Here's where all the money is going towards:
- Wider Concourses
- Less Bench Seating
- New Restrooms
- More Concession options
- Larger video Boards
- New Sound System
- Improved lighting all around
Capacity is also expected to be reduced by thousands, the Gators said they are choosing quality over quantity.