University of South Florida releases on-campus football stadium study results
9 August 2017
USF still has a long way to go before an on-campus football stadium is a reality, but a new study released Tuesday shows where it could be built, and when it could happen.
"If we had the dollars today, we're still five to seven years out," said Calvin Williams, USF Vice President for Administrative Services.
Tuesday morning, the university released its initial feasibility study to turn the idea into a reality. The study focused on evaluating four possible locations for the Tampa campus, located on East Fowler Avenue. Major streets and parking availability were taken into consideration.
Two zones stand out as possible stadium sites.
Zone 1 is located on the west side of USF's campus, near the intersection of Fowler Avenue and Bruce B. Downs. Zone 2 is on the opposite side, in the southeast corner of campus, off of Fowler Avenue and USF Bull Run Drive, where the Museum of Science and Industry is currently located.
"So, right now these are just locations that we know that these are viable locations, it answers the mail back to the Board of Trustees, can it be done?" said Williams. "The answer is we have identified locations, now let's look at the financial strategy, let's look at the fundraising feasibility analysis."
Early estimates suggest a new stadium with seating for 40,000 to 50,000 people, would cost $200 million dollars. Figuring out how to pay for it - without taxpayer dollars or student tuition funds - is the next challenge.
"I'm very optimistic on where the process has been, how the trustees have engaged in this, how leadership is completely engaged in everything we're doing," said Mark Harlan, USF's Director of Athletics.
The study looked at 14 stadiums around the country, including Clemson University and Ole Miss, to conceptualize possibilities for not only a stadium but also a tailgating area called the "Bull Zone" to enhance the fan experience.
For now, Raymond James Stadium will remain the home of the Bulls. USF has a 24 month "out" in its current lease with the stadium, should its own come to fruition during the current 6-year lease.
"We owe it to really look into that," explained Harlan. "What would it do for campus life if we're on this campus? For the overall university? For our football program right now and the excitement that we have, we're thrilled to be at Raymond James Stadium."
The study, according to a media release, will be the first of several stops in a “long process.” It could mean additional studies and research before a decision can be made. The next step will be to present the results at a USF Board of Trustees committee on August 17. No decision about the stadium will be made.