Florida football is about to get fancier, as the school is hoping to complete construction on a shiny new $85 million standalone practice facility next summer.
The James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Training Center received the final steel beam on the frame of the facility at a special “topping off” ceremony that the likes of athletic director Steve Stricklin, coach Dan Mullen and even legend Steve Spurrier attended.
“Our administration, the support and the vision that they have of everybody working together to make this such a special place,” Mullen said, in a video from the event by the Gainesville Sun’s Zach Abolverdi. “As Scott said, I am a facilities planner, because there will be a lot of ‘wow’ factors here, but I think if anybody walked through the building that’s a football person, my goal is to say, ‘This is the most efficient building in the country that you can go to.’ There’s no better set plan to develop players than what we have set here.”
Along with a place to practice, the state-of-the-art facility will feature a dining area, a cabana-style pool and can be utilized by all school athletes — not just football players.
“The whole wow factor for us, one of the big ones, was to design that for all sports to create great student-athlete interaction, so that our players can be around Olympians and world record holders and national champions and they can all interact and grow and learn from each other,” Mullen said.
The new facility, Mullen added, is being built with the future of Florida football in mind.
“One of the things we spend so much time on — this is probably going to be a little bit weird — is we have an area that was kind of like all going to be sectioned off,” he said. “And we all met and I said, ‘Can you tell me what college football is going to be like in 10 years? What’s the cutting thing we need in this facility 10 years from now?’
“We’re all thinking, I said, ‘I’m not sure.’ So we actually redesigned part of the building that has an area right now for future development; I mean it’s finished, it’s going to become a bigger area that is set for future development, the long term plan.”