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USF is looking for designers for its on-campus football stadium

A digital illustration of a large football stadium is lit by lights and a jumbotron. It is a wide shot, where you can see the trees and roads that circle the building.
USF Athletics / Beck Group
The University of South Florida is sharpening a plan to build an on-campus football stadium at Sycamore Fields, near the university athletics district.

The university will put out an "invitation to negotiate" in the next month to select a design and build team for the project.

Plans are moving forward for a football stadium on the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. But the university’s board learned last week that the project still lacks a price tag and blueprints.

USF officials confirmed two facts about the new stadium: the search for a design and build team is underway and the stadium will seat 35,000 cheering Bulls fans.

With the completion of the stadium, the USF football team will move out of Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where it has played since 1998.

The university was recently given the green light on the project’s initial traffic and parking evaluation. Officials promised the recommended site on the east side of campus, named Sycamore Fields, can accommodate future growth for years to come.

Michael Kelly, USF Vice President and Athletic Director, said the stadium needs to serve more than just the football team.

“We want to find ways to activate this facility well beyond the six or seven football games, beyond maybe the 10 or 15 lacrosse games, but to be able to use it on a daily basis,” he said. “That's not only great for the university mission, but for being great community partners. So, finding ways to maximize student and staff input into opportunities is certainly something that we know can be done.”

Kelly added that building a stadium close to the most student dorms was a priority in choosing the site.

“We think it creates the most opportunities to create a very special game day experience and sense of place,” he said.

USF Athletics / Beck Group
An illustration - not an actual rendering - of a proposed football stadium on the USF Tampa campus was used for discussion purposes during a Dec. 7, 2021 Board of Trustees meeting.

While officials didn’t talk about the stadium's price during the meeting, Kelly told the trustees last year that new stadiums can cost from $250 million to $400 million.

Board chair Will Weatherford said he’s looking forward to getting closer to nailing down a price tag for the stadium.

“It’s exciting to talk about building a stadium, but you’ve got to actually know what it’s going to cost and what you’re going to get for that cost,” Weatherford said. “That’s the next step.”

The university will put out an "invitation to negotiate" in the next month to select the design and build team. Next, USF will return to the Board of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors to approve the project.

The university plans to have the stadium completed in 2026.

Jack Prator is the WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for summer of 2022.
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