USF will build its on-campus football stadium behind the team’s current practice fields, if administrators follow the recommendation of their committee.
Athletic director Michael Kelly and USF Foundation CEO Jay Stroman are set to present that recommendation at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting, according to its agenda. They’re suggesting that site over four others based on several criteria.
That 27-acre site is in the current athletics footprint and just north of the under-construction indoor practice facility. That makes it easy for players, staff members and administrators to access.
It’s also near existing parking, student housing and “future development,” and could offer several tailgating options. The land itself would be conducive for a recessed playing field. AAC competitor SMU is one school that plays in such a stadium.
An operations building could be part of the footprint, too. A football operations center has been a major long-term facilities priority for the Bulls since the Charlie Strong era.
The site, however, is not in a “prominent location,” and it would result in moving current recreation fields.
The other four sites had more drawbacks, according to documents attached to the agenda. Building at the corner of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Fowler Avenue would affect the research park and force the botanical gardens to be moved. It would take too long to acquire and prepare the land at the Museum of Science and Industry property across Fowler Avenue. The other two sites (intramural fields near dorms and Fowler Field) are both too small.
Tuesday’s presentation is only a recommendation, and the stadium is on the agenda as an informational item. It is, however, the latest update on a years-long attempt to build an on-campus football stadium.
USF looked at potential sites in 2017 and conducted a feasibility study the next year. The initiative got a major push last fall when board of trustees chair Will Weatherford said the facility would happen.
An initial cost range goes from $250 million to $400 million, and Kelly has said he hopes to figure out that and other funding details by the summer. He has also said the Bulls’ season opener against Miami in 2027 would be a nice debut for the stadium, based on the marquee opponent and the timeline USF has been using. The Bulls’ lease at Raymond James Stadium runs through the 2027 season.
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