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USF targeting 2019 for football center ground-breaking

New vice-president of athletics Michael Kelly said the goal is to have the facility finished by 2020
New USF athletic director Michael Kelly said more than 25 percent of the amount needed to construct the USF Football Center has been committed. (BRONTE WITTPENN | Times)
Published Oct. 1, 2018
Updated Oct. 1, 2018

New USF vice-president of athletics Michael Kelly said Monday he's hopeful the school can break ground on the $40 million USF Football Center some time in 2019, with the objective to have it completed by '20.

Kelly said $11.5 million has been committed to the project, the plans of which were unveiled 11 months ago. The next round of meetings with designers, led by executive deputy AD Barry Clements, starts next week.

"I'm encouraged that we're able to be far enough to start the design process," Kelly said.

"(2019) would be our goal. I don't know when yet; I don't want to put an exact month on it … but yeah, I would think 2019 is still feasible for that. We want to be in it by '20 if we possibly can."

RELATED: USF unveils plan for $40 million football complex on campus

The complex, which will include an indoor practice facility, a strength-and-conditioning center, new football locker room and a players' lounge, is being privately financed. Though former athletic director Mark Harlan suggested the facility could be done in phases, Kelly said the objective will be to complete it all at once.

A windfall of sorts could arrive if/when a substantial gift (perhaps  up to eight figures) is made in exchange for naming rights to the overall center. Naming rights for various segments of the complex also are being solicited, with some already secured.

"I am (pleased)," Kelly said. "I'd love to be higher, but I'm confident that, with the amount of engagement we've had now and with that much being committed, that we'll keep going. It's encouraging, but we've obviously still got plenty to go."