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O'Connell Center To Be Renovated, But Not Like SI Had It (UPDATED)

 

The Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville is going to get a facelift, but not like the one Sports Illustrated portrayed.

An article by Tim Newcomb of Sports Illustrated showed renderings of what a possible O'Connell Center would look like after the proposed $45 million renovation project.

There was one small problem: the firm who released the drawings won't be doing any of the work.

The University of Florida told 620 WDAE Tuesday that the firm NBBJ did not bid successfully on the project, and is not the firm that will be doing the renovation.  The university also released the statement via Twitter.

University spokesman Denver Parler says he's not sure why the firm would release the drawings, or why Sports Illustrated did not confirm the renderings with the school, but there are aspects in the drawings that do not match the building's current operations.

"One of the drawings shows a full-service bar," Parler said.  "We do not serve alcohol in any of our facilities."

Parler did confirm that athletic director Jeremy Foley and the firm that did win the bid are just starting design meetings, and that any drawings or renderings would be released when closer to a final plan.

The arena is scheduled to begin renovation in March 2015, after the end of basketball season, and should be completed in time for the team's SEC schedule in early 2016.  

Parler says the plan is to have the Gators play their home schedule in arenas across the state, including at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.  Other venues would include the Amway Center in Orlando, Jacksonville Memorial Arena, and the BB&T Center in Sunrise, which hosts the Orange Bowl Classic.

UPDATE: Newcomb has issued a correction to his story, acknowledging the use of the non-winning firm's renderings and rewriting the portions that used the incorrect information.

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