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USF Reveals On-Campus Stadium Feasibility Study

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After a year-long study about potential sites, it appears to be down to two locations.

USF

USF Athletics released their findings of their feasibility study for an on-campus stadium, and held a round table discussion with media about the potential sites of the proposed project.

"I want to make it really fundamentally clear to everybody, particularly our constituents, our student body... that this is the first step of many steps.,” USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan said. “When you engage in a project of this scope, you want to make sure that you really dive in and take a look. Today, what we have for everybody to take a look at is really the where -- or possibly the where, I should say -- and the what."

The school looked at four possible sites to put the stadium:

  • Zone A-USF Research Park at the corner of Bruce B. Downs and Fowler.
  • Zone B- MOSI at the corner of Fowler and 50th Street.
  • Zone C-Fields by the USF Botanical Gardens.
  • Zone D-Fowler Fields.
Four potential locations for stadium

From what we can tell, Zone A and Zone D seem to be the leading candidates, with Zone D checking off the most boxes for the school.

The cost to build at the Research Park is roughly $202 million in 2017 dollars, and jumps up to $246 million in 2022 due to future inflation rates. It is slightly cheaper to build at the Fowler Fields at $194 million, which projects to jump up $236 million in 2022.

“If we had the dollars today, we’re still five to seven years out,” USF Vice President for Administrative Services Calvin Williams said.

Finding a way to pay for the stadium will be the toughest part of this project, so don’t hold your breath for breaking ground at these sites soon.

“I like what this study showed. It showed that there are two very viable locations for a stadium to be on this campus,” Harlan said “I think that was interesting to see and to see what it would cost and how to begin the process. I’m very optimistic on how the process has been, how the trustees have engaged in this, how leadership has completely engaged in everything, so that’s really where my optimism lies. As we continue to go further and take a look at finance and models I think that things will be better understood.”

Zone A is a one mile, 20-minute walk from the Greek Life housing while Zone D is a 34 mile, 15-minute walk. Either way, it’s a lot closer than Raymond James Stadium.

Zone D:

Each site will have a “mixed-used” facility that will hold a 200 bed hotel and 10,000 square foot of conference meeting space.

Williams stated that no student fees or tuition will be used in the construction of the stadium, but Harlan quickly walked that back and said that it will be a discussion they will have to have with the student leaders.

"Well, I think on tuition, I think when it comes to student fees, I think it goes back to the conversation that we would have with the students,” Harlan said. “At the end of the day, any student fees has has to work through their committees and their structure. So I think right now, we're so early in process it's hard quite candidly to take that off the table. I think we'd have to talk to the students about it, see what they feel about it. But that's really what the next step is all about."

The University recently renewed their lease with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Sports Authority for use of Raymond James Stadium for an additional six years. Harlan said that there is a 24-month out clause in the deal if the school gets moving on the stadium quickly.

Here’s the link to the study.