USF terminates design-build agreement for Bulls football stadium

An update on the stadium is expected at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting.
A rendering of what a football stadium at the University of South Florida could look like.
A rendering of what a football stadium at the University of South Florida could look like. [ Courtesy of USF ]
Published Dec. 1, 2023|Updated Dec. 2, 2023

The University of South Florida has terminated the $14.8 million design-build agreement for its on-campus football stadium with the construction firm Barton Malow.

A document, which surfaced Friday on social media via an account on X that monitors USF athletics, was signed Tuesday by Jennifer Condon, USF’s deputy chief financial officer. It indicates the design-build contract “has been terminated with the intent to publicly source a replacement construction management firm.”

In a formal statement released Friday afternoon, the university confirmed it has decided to change from “a design/build project delivery model to a construction management model” for the $340 million stadium project.

“The new model will give the university more direct access to all design elements and gives the university more control over cost efficiencies to receive the best value within the project’s budget. As a result of this switch, the university has informed Barton Malow of its intent to begin the process of selecting a construction manager under the new project delivery model.”

A stadium update is expected at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled USF board of trustees meeting.

“USF thanks the Barton Malow team for their significant contributions to date, and the university looks forward to opportunities to work with them again in the future,” the statement says.

“The on-campus stadium project continues to move forward, and nothing has changed regarding the cost or the university’s commitment to the project. We look forward to sharing more details with the USF community next week.”

Populous is one of the biggest players in the stadium design industry and was one of the main partners in the design-build agreement recommended by the school more than a year ago. Tampa companies DuCon Construction and RR Simmons also were involved. USF has hired another local firm, Barr & Barr, to help inspect the work.

“It is in the university’s best interest to maintain the Populous relationship for timing, continuous work product and knowledge purposes,” the document says. “Populous was a major factor in the design-build team selection but was not the contracted entity.”

The expansive original contract with Barton Malow (136 pages and more than 55,000 words) called for a lump-sum payment of $14,825,288. But the agreement indicated the Bulls could walk away without penalty if, for instance, the two sides couldn’t agree on a final cost.

The deal with Barton Malow solidified some previously known details about the project while adding some new ones. The Bulls want a 35,000-seat stadium with five levels (field, main concourse, club level, suite level and press level) and “premium areas and experiences” unique to USF. The project includes an “athletic training and performance center” for football and women’s lacrosse.

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The lump-sum payment of nearly $15 million was part of the $22 million design budget USF’s board approved on March 7 — one day after the Barton Malow contract was dated. The rest is earmarked for financing, planning (things like land surveys) and design contingencies if USF wants to add to the project. USF is paying for this phase through nonpublic funds such as donations and investment earnings.

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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