On morning of Arkansas opener, Florida unveils plans for new baseball stadium

By: Matt Jones
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018
An artist's rendering shows plans for a new baseball stadium at Florida that will open by 2020.
Photo by University of Florida
An artist's rendering shows plans for a new baseball stadium at Florida that will open by 2020.

— Arkansas' series at No. 2 Florida this weekend will be the No. 4 Razorbacks' final one scheduled at McKethan Stadium, the Gators' home for the past 30 years.

On the cusp of its biggest home series yet this season, Florida officials officially released renderings Friday of a new home ballpark that is expected to open by 2020. The yet-to-be-named ballpark will cost around $50 million and have an overall capacity of 10,000, including around 5,000 mostly-shaded chairback seats, according to a release. Construction will begin sometime this fall.

Florida had tentatively announced plans for a new park after winning the College World Series for the first time last year. It will be one of two new parks in the SEC by 2020. Kentucky is scheduled to open a new $49 million facility next year.

Several SEC programs have either built or significantly upgraded their baseball parks in the past decade. Among them: South Carolina and LSU opened new parks in 2009, and stadiums at Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Mississippi State have all undergone overhauls since 2012.

A $55 million renovation to Mississippi State's Dudy Noble Field is expected to be completed by the start of the 2019 season. That project was initially overseen by Scott Stricklin, now the athletics director at Florida.

The Gators also announced plans Friday to build a $65 million football facility by 2021 that will include new locker rooms and coaches offices where its baseball stadium currently sits, and to spend $11 million in renovations to its softball stadium.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story noted an incorrect number of years Florida has spent at its current baseball stadium.

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