USF keep abreast design firms on venue plans


University of Florida stadium update 2022 Image: USF

The University of South Florida (USF) explained the next steps in its plan to build an on-campus football stadium recently to a standing-room-only crowd of architecture and construction firms.

‘Tampa Bay Times’ stated that those firms will have to submit formal, written questions about the 35,000-seat stadium the South Florida Bulls intend to build just North of the current football practice fields. Proposals are due on July 22nd.

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

The South Florida Bulls football team represents the University of South Florida. The Bulls began playing in 1997 and compete in the American Athletic Conference (The American) of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The team plays its home games at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, US.

The 65,890-capacity Raymond James Stadium is a multipurpose stadium in Tampa, Florida, US, that opened in 1998 and is home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL) and the University of South Florida Bulls college football program.

‘Tampa Bay Times’ further stated that from there, the USF intends to receive formal presentations on August 9th with the goal of awarding the project to a firm on August 19th. That decision must be approved by the Board of Trustees at its September 6th meeting.

The University of South Florida walked through that timeline during a pre-proposal meeting at the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center. Officials fielded questions about the project, but the biggest one – the budget – remains unanswered.

“That’s what this process is going to help determine,” Assistant Director of Procurement Services Michael Hernandez told the group.

When asked how innovative the Bulls want their facility to be, Athletic Director Michael Kelly said this stadium will be one of the only ones in college football built this century, and the design should reflect that.

It must also reflect the community. Terrie Daniel – University of South Florida’s Assistant Vice-President of Office Supplier Diversity – stressed the need for proposals to include local, diverse companies in the supply chain to “build the best stadium in the country”.

Daniel said some area businesses might not be able to do everything with a $350 million stadium, but they “Do have the capacity to do the $5 million flooring,” for example. USF’s goal is to have 13-25 percent of the project include local, minority-owned businesses.

In September a Board meeting will be held. The next moves will likely take place behind closed doors to protect negotiations in the nine-figure project.

Though little new information was provided in the recently held meeting, it was a notable step forward in the years-long process to bring football to campus. Some of the notable firms in attendance included: Populous, which built Colorado State’s new 41,000-capacity Canvas Stadium and renovated Texas 1, 02,733-capacity A&M’s Kyle Field, AECOM Hunt, which renovated Miami’s 65,326-capacity Hard Rock Stadium and served as the Construction Manager for Indianapolis’ 70,000-capacity Lucas Oil Stadium, and Barton Malow, which renovated the iconic stadiums at Ohio State and Michigan.

The Bulls’ stadium will likely require a year or two of design, then a year or two of construction. The University of South Florida aims to open the stadium for the 2026 season.

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