Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center

University of Florida

Transforming a tired, old arena into a next generation entertainment venue.



As the home of the University of Florida's basketball, volleyball, swimming, diving, and gymnastics programs and the area's primary venue, the aging 300,000 sf Stephen C. O’Connell Center was in dire need of an upgrade. The Davis team worked with the university to identify opportunities to turn the arena into a transformative, next generation entertainment venue, ready to serve the school and the area for decades to come.

Previously, the arena was served by four smaller entrances and suffered from poor flow around the bowl, a lack of fan amenities, and an aging infrastructure. The east side of the facility, located directly across the street from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, was expanded to create a new main entry that connected two existing entries into one grand lobby that feeds into a renovated seating bowl. The previous facility had three levels of seating, with the lower two being telescoping platforms. The second level platforms were removed and replaced with a permanent concrete grandstand, which created a perimeter concourse with fan amenities such as concessions, restrooms, merchandise kiosks, and a new Center Court Club. The event level was renovated with new home and visitor locker rooms and a Courtside Club.

To me, it’s a whole new arena. I think that’s what might take people by surprise when they get in and experience it. It’s not just a renovated O’Connell Center.
— Chip Howard, Former Executive Associate Athletic Director

At a glance

  • Located in Gainesville, FL

  • 217,000 sf

  • Completed December 2016


  • Architecture

  • Interior Design

  • Facility Programming

  • Renovation + Restoration

  • Sustainable Design

LEED Certification

  • LEED Gold (v4) Pending