Florida Gators select HOK for $60m football facility & dining hall

The University of Florida has selected HOK to design a $60 million stand-alone football facility and attached dining hall.

University of Florida and University Athletic Association officials met with design teams from four prominent architectural firms, opting to go with Kansas City-based HOK.

Founded in 1955, HOK has designed numerous major professional and college sports venues, including recent projects such as Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the renovation of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and Clemson University’s new football operations facility.


“We are excited to partner with HOK to design our football operations facility and student-athlete dining hall,” said Chip Howard, UF’s executive associate athletics director for internal affairs. “The overall knowledge that the team at HOK has of our facilities stood out during the presentation process and their firm is an industry leader in athletic facilities.”

HOK’s hiring is the latest development toward the projected 130,000 square-foot building which will serve as the meeting and training headquarters for the UF football program. The three-story facility will be located across the Sanders Practice Fields from the team’s indoor practice facility and adjacent to SW 2nd Ave.

Algen Williams, who directed HOK’s bid presentation to UF officials, emphasized the importance of a design specific to Florida’s brand. While all of HOK’s design elements remain in the conceptual stage, new renderings are expected in the next several weeks.

“The University of Florida’s football program has a long history of building champions,” Williams said. “This project will be a facility that caters to the university’s mission of creating complete, well-rounded student-athletes. Our team is looking forward to using design and innovation to tell the story of the Gator football program.”

In HOK’s news release the firm said, “an entry lobby will serve as a focal point, reinforcing the Gators’ brand and legacy.”

Once the players and coaches pass through the entrance, their new workspace will include a state-of-the art locker room, 3D hologram training environment, strength and conditioning center, hydrotherapy space, team meeting rooms, coaching offices, a nutrition bar and other amenities.

Based on plans for the project that were released in December to the public, the school envisions breaking ground on the football facility in December 2017 with a final inspection in June 2019, a conservative timeline that remains fluid.

The next major step is the selection of construction management firm. That process started last month with an advertisement to open the bid process on UF’s official website.

The new football facility is part of a UAA $100 million master facility plan announced in September that also includes major upgrades to McKethan Stadium, home of Florida’s baseball team, and the softball team’s home, Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin has been meeting with boosters around the state in the past month to discuss the projects and to introduce himself to some of the program’s biggest supporters. In addition, Gator Boosters, Inc., recently launched the “Game Changer Initiative” to raise awareness and help finance future projects.

“The football operations project is going to have a significant impact on the daily experience of our student-athletes and staff,” Stricklin said. “This facility represents a substantial commitment on behalf of Florida Athletics and Gator Boosters to ensure Gator coaches, players and staff are able to perform as efficiently as possible, while the new dining hall will benefit all 500-plus Florida student-athletes.”