USF Moving Forward with $340 Million Stadium Project Plans

In an ambitious stride toward elevating its football program, the University of South Florida (USF) is moving forward with plans to build a $340 million stadium on campus, a development that has recently overcame another crucial procedural step. The finance committee of the board of trustees has agreed to initial terms with a team led by Manhattan Construction Company to bring this visionary project to life. This decision, which took place with minimal debate and no contest, is pending final approval at a board meeting set for June 4.

The terms discussed in the recent virtual meeting set the builders’ fee at 2.25% of the construction cost, a figure that will be finalized when the guaranteed maximum price is determined. The board is yet to approve this final cost, but has the flexibility to cancel the construction management agreement if necessary. Moreover, the board has already sanctioned costs just shy of $490,000 for two pre-construction stages as part of the design progression.

This development is a significant component of USF’s long-term vision of transitioning from Raymond James Stadium to a new 35,000-seat facility located just north of their current practice grounds. Initially, USF had selected Barton Malow as the lead construction firm, finalizing the contract in the spring of the previous year. However, in a strategic pivot in the fall, USF decided to cancel this agreement. The revised plan allows for more university input and removes the premium cost that was initially tied to accelerated completion timelines, which became impractical due to industry-wide supply chain delays.

An integral part of this expansive project, including the operations center catering to football and women’s lacrosse, is on track for completion in 2026, while the stadium itself is slated to open in time for the 2027 football season. The contract includes a provision mandating a $2 million compensation by the construction group to USF for every game the stadium is not operational as scheduled. USF officials have factored in additional time in their planning to ensure readiness for the season start.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the stadium is aimed to coincide with the homecoming week, particularly during the Oct. 19 game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Financially, the initiative is supported through a $200 million loan, alongside $140 million pooled from various sources, such as donations and broadband equipment or license sales. Notably, students have also thrown their weight behind the project, earmarking $6.3 million from the 2024-25 capital improvement trust fund towards this ambitious venture.

As USF advances with this project, it underlines the institution’s dedication to enhancing its sports facilities, aiming not only to invigorate the Bulls’ football program but also to enrich the overall athlete and fan experience.