TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida Board of Trustees voted to approve the design agreement and cost for its 35,000-seat stadium, the next step in the school’s quest to build its own soccer field.

Officials hope this will be a turning point for the university’s future.

Board members held a scheduled meeting Tuesday and the agenda included approving the USF Stadium Design Build Agreement and approving up to $22 million for design phase costs.

Without debate or discussion, officials approved the project – one the university hopes will take the sports program to the next level.

“It’s going to create a very unique matchday environment that we think we can create, in addition to being really close to college dorms and our Greek village and everything else. So it’s a perfect place for us,” USF athletic director Michael Kelly said before 10 Tampa Bay.

It’s important to note that the $22 million figure is for the design phase of the stadium only. Additional financing and construction costs must be approved if the project goes beyond the design phase.

“This initial design phase will result in the preparation and finalization of plans for the stadium and will provide multiple opportunities for the USF community to contribute to the stadium’s design,” reads part of the meeting’s agenda summary.

This is how the costs are distributed:

  • $14.8 million for stem and design services
  • $3.9 million in additional planning services from USF
  • $850,000 financing cost
  • $2.3 million owner allocation for design services

“This capital project will be one of the largest projects in the history of our university,” said Board Member Michael Griffin. Executives previously said the total cost was estimated at $250 million to $400 million.

Back in September, the USF leaders announced they were moving forward with Barton Malow and Populous. The companies have collaborated at more than 40 sports venues across the country.

The two companies have worked on facilities such as Penn State’s Beaver Stadium and Orlando City Soccer Club’s Exploria Stadium. When everything is approved, the design phase of the project begins and lasts 18 months.

For now, the USF Bulls will continue to play their home games at Raymond James Stadium.

“I’m looking forward to the stadium, I won’t be here, but I’ll come back to be here, I’ll come back to be here in 20 years,” said USF quarterback Gerry Bohanon.

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