The Florida Gators will begin building a $15 million indoor practice football facility this week. The new facility is expected to be completed by early September.
The facility will be built on the site of the existing Sanders Football Practice Fields on campus and will be funded through private gifts and capital financing.
The Gators are required to stop outdoor practices whenever lightning is within an eight-mile radius. Florida estimates that 30 practices during the 2014 season were impacted by the weather, including two during the week before the team's final game of the regular season against Florida State.
"This is something we have talked about internally for some time," Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley said in a statement. "We have always been able to utilize the O’Connell Center as an indoor option for the football team, but with the renovation starting this spring, it will no longer be available."
After firing Will Muschamp near the end of the season, the Gators hired Jim McElwain as their new head coach in early December.
Florida finished 7-5 in 2014 with a bowl win over East Carolina.
- Jack Jorgensen