USF is close to its next major step on its quest to build an on-campus football stadium: approving a contract with the design-build team.
The board of trustees’ finance committee is scheduled to hear an update on the issue at its Tuesday morning meeting. After that, the full board of trustees could vote to approve up to $22 million for the design phase during its regularly scheduled March 7 meeting.
Committee documents provide some new insight into the project, which would be built north of the current practice facilities. The Bulls are seeking $14.8 million for preconstruction and design services and $3.9 million for more planning services by USF. There’s also $850,000 in financing costs and $2.3 million for “owner contingency for design services.” The total price tag is comparable to what the design/build team of Populous and Barton Malow proposed last year, according to documents the Tampa Bay Times obtained in September.
“This initial design phase will result in the preparation and completion of the plans for the stadium and will include multiple opportunities for the USF community to provide input on the design of the stadium,” the agenda item said. “The final plans will reflect USF’s unique needs and specifications, the plans will align with USF’s financial plan for the project, and USF will own the plans.”
Even if the design expenses are approved, much work will remain. The board will eventually have to sign off on final construction and financing costs, and USF will have the option to “pause or terminate” the project or design-build team once this phase is complete. The Bulls have not yet announced a budget for the proposed 35,000-seat stadium, but it’s expected to cost nine figures.
The agenda item includes two other notable details about the proposed agreement. If the stadium isn’t ready for the 2026 season, the design-build team will owe USF $2 million in liquidated damages for every scheduled home game that cannot be played at the new stadium. The Bulls currently play at Raymond James Stadium.
Populous and Barton Malow also commit to meet or exceed having 36% of design and construction expenses go to small business, veteran-owned firms or companies owned by women or minorities.
USF announced in September that it would use those two firms to design and build the project. Some preliminary meetings took place at USF last month as the Bulls opened their long-awaited indoor practice facility.
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