UF breaks ground on new baseball stadium

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - After 31 years at McKethan Stadium, the Florida Gator baseball team will soon be stepping up to the plate at a new ballpark.

The University of Florida held a groundbreaking ceremony today for the new stadium, set to host the Gators in 2021.

The park will feature a 360-degree open concourse with added shade around the park. The permanent seating will change from 2,400 to more than 4,000. Grass berms and other non-traditional seating will also be available, which the university hopes will help create a more social atmosphere.

"The impact it's gonna have as far as helping make a Gator baseball game a more social event for students and the community and gator nation as a whole, I think is really gonna create a lot of excitement. I can totally see this becoming a huge pass-time for Gator fans on spring weekends going forward, even more than it is today," said Scott Stricklin, the UF athletic director.

The new park will be located on the southwest corner of campus, while the current stadium will be turned into a football training center.

The improved facilities will continue to push Florida towards its goal of being the best in the country.

"You know our responsibility is to recruit the best players that we can... the student-athletes that will represent our program both on and off the field and help us to compete for championships. It's just going to be an incredible facility and we're looking forward to being a part of it," said head baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan.

The new park will cost $65 million and expects completion in June of 2020.