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'A long time coming': USF takes next step in building on-campus stadium

The new on-campus facility and an adjoining sports complex would cost an estimated $340 million dollars.

TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida has taken another major step toward constructing its own football stadium.

USF’s finance committee unanimously approved a financial plan for what would be a state-of-the-art $340 million facility, moving forward with its design plan and laying out a financial framework of how the school plans to pay for the 35,000-seat stadium.

“It’s a game changer for the university,” Committee Chairman Michael Griffin said. “This has been a long time coming.”

For years, the Bulls have played their games at Raymond James Stadium.

The new on-campus facility and an adjoining sports complex would cost an estimated $340 million.

According to the approved plan, $140 million will come from the school itself using capital improvement funds, donations and an estimated $59 million from the sale of Broadband equipment and licenses.

Another $200 million would come from a 20-year loan at 5 1/2% interest.

“We want to win and we want to win the right way. We want to build a stadium the right way too,” Griffin said. “And we want to make sure that we’re doing it while protecting the university by investing in our student experience on campus.”

Some committee members brought up concerns raised by a number of USF faculty who are worried that such an enormous financial commitment could impact academics.

But the board’s Chief Financial Officer Richard Sobieray said USF was getting 30% more in state funds these days, and that academics would not suffer.

“That money is being invested in our academic mission. It’s not used for this particular purpose," Sobieray said. "So, I do think that there is a real effort to make improvements and find those additional resources for investments in our academics and research."

Last season, USF had an overall 1-11 losing record. The chief financial officer admitted during the meeting that some of their financial calculations are based on the university fielding a successful team.

There was also a discussion about relocating existing recreational facilities during the construction process.

Based on the timeline, the school could break ground in about a year from now.

The plan still needs approval from USF‘s full board at its meeting on June 13 and eventually the state university system’s Board of Governors.

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