USF Football recommended site for Bulls on-campus stadium

USF will build its football stadium on campus behind the team’s current training grounds, if trustees follow their committee’s recommendation.

Athletic director Michael Kelly and USF Foundation CEO Jay Stroman are expected to present the recommendation at Tuesday’s board meeting, according to his agenda. They suggest this site among four others based on several criteria.

This 27-acre site is within the current athletics footprint and just north of the indoor training facility under construction. This makes it easier for players, staff and administrators to access.

It is also close to an existing car park, student accommodation and “future development”, and could offer several tailgating options. The land itself would be suitable for a set back playground. Competitor AAC SMU is a school that plays in such a stadium.

SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium playing field is set back. It’s an option for USF on its recommended site. [ ROGER STEINMAN | AP (2019) ]

An operations building could also be part of the footprint. A football operations center has been a major long-term priority for the Bulls since the Charlie Strong era.

The site, however, is not in a “prominent location”, and this would cause the current recreation grounds to be displaced.

The other four sites had more disadvantages, according to the documents attached to the agenda. Construction at the corner of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Fowler Avenue would affect the Research Park and force the relocation of the Botanical Gardens. It would take too long to acquire and prepare the land for the Museum of Science and Industry property across Fowler Avenue. The other two sites (intramural fields near the dormitories and Fowler Field) are both too small.

Tuesday’s presentation is only a recommendation, and the stadium is on the agenda for informational purposes. It is, however, the latest update in a years-long attempt to build an on-campus football stadium.

Jeff Scott and the Bulls could play at an on-campus stadium near the Athletics' current footprint in years to come.
Jeff Scott and the Bulls could play at an on-campus stadium near the Athletics’ current footprint in years to come. [ SCOTT PURKS | Scott Purks, Special to the Times ]

USF reviewed potential sites in 2017 and conducted a feasibility study the following year. The initiative received a major boost last fall when board chairman Will Weatherford said the facility would come to fruition.

Related: USF ‘will’ build football stadium on campus, board chairman says

An initial cost range is $250 million to $400 million, and Kelly said he hopes to figure out that and other funding details by the summer. He also said the Bulls’ season opener against Miami in 2027 would be a good start for the stadium, based on the marquee opponent and timeline used by USF. The Bulls’ lease at Raymond James Stadium runs through the 2027 season.

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