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Next steps revealed for USF Bulls’ on-campus football stadium

USF updated its timeline during a standing-room-only meeting for potential suppliers of the nine-figure stadium.
The USF Bulls could be playing their football games on campus in 2026.
The USF Bulls could be playing their football games on campus in 2026. [ Courtesy of USF ]
Published Jul. 6

TAMPA — USF explained the next steps in its plan to build an on-campus football stadium Wednesday to a standing-room-only crowd of architecture and construction firms.

Those firms have until Friday afternoon to submit formal, written questions about the 35,000-seat stadium the Bulls intend to build just north of the current football practice fields. Proposals are due on July 22.

From there, USF intends to receive formal presentations on Aug. 9 with the goal of awarding the project to a firm on Aug. 19. That decision must be approved by the board of trustees at its Sept. 6 meeting.

USF 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.

Related: What will USF Bulls gain from an on-campus football stadium?

“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; the design should reflect that.

It must also reflect the community. Terrie Daniel — USF’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.”

USF fans could be cheering on the Bulls at an on-campus stadium in 2026.
USF fans could be cheering on the Bulls at an on-campus stadium in 2026. [ Times (2019) ]

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

Wednesday’s meeting is expected to be the only public session about the stadium until September’s board meeting. The next moves will likely take place behind closed doors to protect negotiations in the nine-figure project.

Though Wednesday provided little new information, 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 Canvas Stadium and renovated Texas A&M’s Kyle Field; AECOM Hunt; which renovated Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium and served as the construction manager for Indianapolis’ 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. USF aims to open the stadium for the 2026 season.

One of the potential suppliers asked the question sure to please USF fans on message boards and social media: Will the Bulls’ stadium be better than the one at UCF?

Related: Now that Paul Griffin’s headed to USF’s hall of fame, could Jim Leavitt follow?

The stadium committee laughed and said yes, as chuckles spread throughout the room. Then the meeting adjourned.

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