USF approves $22 million proposal to design on-campus football stadium

Little by little, the University of South Florida is taking steps to make the on-campus football stadium dream come true.

Tuesday, the Board of Trustees approved a $22 million proposal to design the stadium. There was neither any discussion nor debate leading up to the vote. The money will not come from state funds, officials said.

"This initial design phase will result in the preparation and completion of the plans for the stadium and will include multiple opportunities for the USF community to provide input on the design of the stadium," according to the BOT agenda.

Back in September, USF named "Populous" and "Barton Malow" as the intended design and build team for the stadium. Combined, both companies have worked on 43 projects over three decades, including some of the biggest venues in college sports. 

The site for the new stadium is on the east side of campus where Sycamore Fields is located, right next to the $22 million indoor practice facility, which opened in January.

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The indoor facility houses a full-sized turf football field with goal posts, as well as other amenities, and has been open to student-athletes for nearly two months prior to the grand opening.

New head football coach Alex Golesh hopes this puts his program, as well as others, in a new league.

"When you're competing at this level and don't have a facility like this, I think it's a huge disadvantage," Golesh said. "I think it puts you on a level playing field." 

The USF football program currently calls Raymond James Stadium home – but school leaders and students have said the space is too big, and has experienced a lack of fanfare over the years.

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This project is part of a master plan that includes a new lacrosse stadium, a baseball and softball clubhouse, a new tennis facility, and an overhaul of the golf practice space.

There is space for parking and tailgating. It is also close to student housing.

As of now, the potential opening date for an on-campus football stadium is 2026-2027, but it is contingent on planning and construction time.