Florida's $64ish million O'Connell Center renovation has been underway since the beginning of the year, and fully operational since late March, but we haven't heard all that much about the project since ground was broken inside the facility. The renderings that the school released along with a select-your-seat website on Thursday, though, make it clear that the wait should be well worth it.
The school's "Virtual Venue" site for the O'Dome has exterior views (without a roof that I think is part of the design) of the shiny, new-ish arena, and allows users to click around to see the views from their theoretical seats. And if the good news is that it seems like there will still be very, very few bad seats in the O'Connell Center, the really good news is that it seems like virtually all of the seats will actually give great views.
I clicked around to the new courtside seats — available for a season for a touch over $12,000, big spenders! — the student section just behind them, a seat behind one of the stanchions, and seats up in the third level — now the 200 level — where students will sit and near where I sat on cheap partial season tickets a few years back. There are sight lines aplenty, and the newly installed seatbacks look slightly more comfortable than the very old seats that had existed in the facility.
And the new amenities, or what we can see of them, look very nice. It's hard to get a view of the center-hung scoreboard, but it looks good, and the renovated corner video boards seem a bit less cramped. No shots of the exterior concourse are on the site, but the interior one seems like a substantial upgrade from the indoor track that used to ring the second level.
In short, the O'Dome that we see in these renderings looks a whole less like a literal house of horrors and more like a modern facility that fans will happily make the House of Horrors Florida very much wants its multipurpose gym to be. And that's what we were all hoping for, I think.