South Florida varsity venue plans take wing


University of South Florida stadium update May 2023 Image: University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (in Tampa, Florida, US) is on track to build a brand-new stadium. The Finance Committee of the school’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the financial plan for the $340 million, 35,000-seat venue set to open in July 2026, with construction beginning in October.

‘wusf Public Media’ stated that there’s finally a proposed price for the University of South Florida on-campus stadium.

The University of South Florida is a public research university with its main campus located in Tampa, Florida (US), and other campuses in St. Petersburg (City in Florida) and Sarasota (City in Florida). It is one of 12 members of the State University System of Florida.

The total cost would be $340 million. That would cover the design, construction, equipment, and furnishings for an approximately 35,000-seat, five-level stadium located near the Northeast side of the Tampa campus. The stadium would be home to the USF football and women’s lacrosse team.

‘wusf Public Media’ further stated that the agenda shows $200 million will be debt taken on by the University of South Florida over 20 years at a projected fixed interest rate of 5.5 percent. That debt will be secured by a lien on stadium operating revenues (ticket sales, concessions, parking, and merchandizing) and non-stadium athletic revenues.

  • The other $140 million will come from the university;
  • $50 million from the USF Foundation;
  • $31 million from the university’s Capital Improvement Trust Fund;
  • $34 million from auxiliary funds and proceeds from the 2017 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction of WUSF TV’s broadband signal; and
  • $25 million from the sale of broadband licenses later this year.

Other stadium features included in the plan are 10,000 student seats, 1,200 club seats, 40 loge boxes, 24 luxury suites, and a party patio and field level club of up to 800 members.

The consulting group Conventions, Sports & Leisure International put together a detailed, almost 70-page study comparing the proposed stadium and possible amenities to those at other universities nationwide, including the University of Central Florida, University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Baylor University in Texas.

The design phase started in October of last year, and construction is expected to start this October. The design-build team of Barton Marlow and Populous is contracted to receive up to $22 million for the design phase.

Barton Marlow is expected to present a final maximum price sometime in 2024. The hope is that the stadium will be ready in time for the 2026 football season.

One concern the Board has to address is the relocation of several student recreational facilities, including the Sycamore field complex (four field grass complex, two softball fields and a 1.3-mile fitness trail).

Those facilities are used by the intramural sports teams, clubs, the Herd of Thunder Marching Band, and the University of South Florida Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of South Florida (USF) is an educational program designed to give men and women the opportunity to become an Air Force officer while completing a degree.

The current proposal would see those facilities temporarily moved to a vacant University of South Florida Research Park location, as well as an annex building and parking lots for the Shriners Hospital for seven to 10 years while a more formal project is developed.

The relocation is estimated to take about one year with an overall cost of a maximum of $18 million.

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