Services and Facilities For Persons With Disabilities
The staff of the O’Connell Center is committed to assisting persons with disabilities. Anyone needing assistance should contact the administrative office at 352-392-5500 or by TDD 1-800-955-8771.
Programs and Accessibility
Activities in the O’Connell Center include instruction, entertainment, recreation, intramurals, sporting events, trade shows and lectures. All of these programs are accessible to our disabled patrons for either participation or viewing. The O’Connell Center has electronically controlled doors at all gates to assist disabled patrons and guests with entry and exit into the facility. Elevators are available at Gates 1 and 4 for access to the 100 and 200 Levels. During certain events, both elevators may not be accessible due to security requirements of the event. Our staff can assist patrons in these cases.
The general public, including patrons with wheelchairs, is not permitted on the arena floor for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics. Due to the complexity, size and physical setting of these events, there is no available space for seating. Available seating for disabled patrons for each of these events is located on the level one disabled patron seating platforms at Gates 1, 2, & 3 (when arena configuration permits); in the four, second-level gate corners; between Gates 1 & 2 along the rail; and on the level three disabled patron seating locations at Gates 1, 2, & 3. One companion may sit with the person with disabilities in this seating area, both patrons must have tickets for accessible seating sections. Show requirements may limit the number of accessible seats for persons with disabilities. Working personnel in wheelchairs are permitted on the floor with proper credentials.
Tickets are available for persons with disabilities, as well as companion tickets, for all events held in the O’Connell Center. Patrons should request disabled accessible tickets from the University Box Office and/or TicketMaster outlets for special events, and the University Athletic Association for athletic events. For free and general admission events, staff in employee uniforms are available to provide assistance to patrons on a first come, first serve basis. Due to limited space in these areas, we only allow one guest to sit with the disabled patron but would not break up a party of three.
Patrons with wheelchairs are allowed unlimited access to the arena floor for trade shows, expos, classes recreational activities, and banquets.
Two lifts for disabled patrons are available for University events (e.g. commencements and speeches) to provide stage accessibility during the programs. A five-day advance notice should be given to have lift accessibility. Special arrangements for disabled graduates must be arranged in advance by contacting the Dean of Students Office, Disability Resource Center at 352-392-8565.
More than one percent of the O’Connell Center’s fixed seating has moveable armrests as required by the ADA.
The O’Connell Center has restroom access for disabled patrons at all 100 Level gates, as well as the men’s and women’s locker rooms on the Lower Level. All of the O’Connell Center accessible toilet stalls are equipped with safety bars. Toilet accessories and urinals are mounted at ADA regulation height. One lavatory in each restroom has a tilted mirror and an accessible faucet.
Concession stands at all gates have been updated to include a counter section that meets ADA accessibility requirements. Concession employees will read menu boards to those who need assistance.
There are currently 28 disabled accessible parking spaces (26 in the main lot and 2 in the west lot) adjacent to the building. These spaces are designated with the official disabled persons sign and reserved for persons with the appropriate parking decal or permit. These spaces are available on a first come basis, including the two in the west lot when it is reserved and not available to the general public. There is a wheelchair ramp located near the parking spaces in the center of the west lot.
Assistance for the Hearing Impaired
Sign interpreters for the hearing impaired can be requested by calling the O’Connell Center administrative office (a minimum of two weeks notice is required). Hearing assisted devices are routinely available for commencement ceremonies and speaking engagements, advance notice is preferred to accommodate requests for other shows.
Event advertisements and activity information include the Florida Relay Service TDD number (1-800-955-8771) for the hearing impaired. The O’Connell Center requires all outside event promoters to include the following working in all printed advertisements: “For TDD assistance call 1-800-955-8771” If this number does not appear in the ad, the Center will take necessary action to notify the promoter.
Natatorium and Weight Rooms
Seating on the pool deck in the natatorium is currently not available for any patrons. Seating for disabled patrons at swimming events is located at the top of the bleachers on the second level overlooking the pool deck. For daily recreational class use, the pool is accessible by way of the men’s and women’s locker rooms on Level 1, or by using the ramp at the Gate 3, Level 1 pool deck entrance. Elevators are located at Gates 1 & 4 for access to Level 1. The locker rooms are ADA compliant for restrooms, showers and emergency egress. Access to the pool by way of the elevators at Gates 1 & 4 may be restricted when there are paid or special events taking place in the main arena. A lift for disabled patrons is available to help them in and out of the pool; it is available and operated by the lifeguards or instructors for their respective programs. Patrons requiring the lift should not attempt to use it without the assistance of a trained staff member.
In the Weight Room and Cardio Room, attendants are on duty during recreational hours to provide assistance and instruction. These rooms are located on Level 1 and can be accessed via the elevators at Gates 1 & 4