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Bulls await next step for facility

South Florida's long-anticipated state-of-the-art athletic facility could take a giant step closer to reality if approval for obtaining a $15-million loan is granted at today's Board of Trustees meeting.

The loan would cover the projected total cost of the 110,000 square-foot facility, to be located adjacent to the north end of the Sun Dome. The facility initially had been estimated at $18- to $20-million and 95,000 square feet and was to be adjacent to the west end of the track and soccer facility.

USF has secured about $3-million in private donations toward the anticipated $15-million debt.

If approved, the facility is scheduled to break ground July 1. The design/construction phase is listed as 12-14 months, meaning it would open in time for USF's football debut in Conference USA in the fall of 2003.

The football program will be the facility's primary tenant. It will include coaches' offices (the football coaches' offices currently are in trailers), conference rooms and locker rooms.

Several other sports will move primary offices into the facility: men's and women's soccer, tennis, cross country and track and field, and softball.

The facility will have upgraded centers for sports medicine, academic support and strength and conditioning/weight training.

ALABAMA: All-SEC defensive tackle Jarret Johnson sprained a ligament in his right knee and will miss the rest of spring practice.

FSU: Willie Reid's 45-yard run was the highlight of Wednesday's scrimmage.

MIAMI: Running back Frank Gore will have surgery on his right knee this week. He injured his ACL on Tuesday. His status for this season is uncertain.

Also, Art Kehoe, the offensive line coach since 1985, was promoted to assistant head coach.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Former running back Derek Watson was found guilty of marijuana possession, likely ending his chances of returning to the Gamecocks.

USF: Coach Jim Leavitt praised the passing game during workouts. "Our quarterbacks and all of our receivers looked very good," he said. Today's practice will be the first in pads.

_ Information from Times wires was used in this report.