University of South Alabama President Tony Waldrop reported today that an exploratory committee has determined an on-campus football stadium is “feasible,” but its $85 million to $115 million cost “can only be achieved with the assistance of external financial partnerships and significant philanthropic support.”

In a letter sent to faculty, students and alumni, Waldrop said the 16,000-student university would like a stadium with a 25,000 seat capacity. The committee suggested it be located at the site currently occupied by intramural fields next to the Mitchell Center.

Lagniappe previously reported that Alabama State University in Montgomery built an on-campus stadium that opened on Nov. 22, 2012 for $62 million and seats 26,500. Tulane University in New Orleans, which previously played its home games in the Superdome, opened Yulman Stadium on Sept. 6 2014. It cost $72 million to build and seats 30,000.

We’ll have more information as it develops. The full text of Waldrop’s letter is reprinted below.


Dear USA Community,

Over the past year, a small group of USA trustees, administrators and staff have been exploring the financial, logistical and infrastructural requirements associated with the possible construction of an on-campus football stadium. This phase of the process has been largely completed, and I want to provide you with an update on the current status of this initiative.

The intent of this process, from the outset, was to determine if construction of a football facility was feasible, with no predetermination about how the University would proceed after the process concluded. The small working group was comprehensive in its approach, and its actions included site visits to existing stadiums as well as the engagement of expert consultants to review the concept, design, engineering, pricing and possible locations of a potential stadium, and understanding of key issues such as vehicle and pedestrian ingress and egress, parking, concessions and stadium technology.

At this point in the process, it has been determined that:
The most viable and logical site for a stadium would be the location of the current intramural fields near the football field house, with the intramural fields being relocated to another area of campus.
The logical seating capacity for a stadium would be in the range of 25,000 seats, with the capacity for additional expansion in the future if needed.
The cost of a stadium, along with the associated infrastructure and improvements, would fall into the range of approximately $85 to $115 million.

The results of this process tell us that construction of an on-campus stadium is feasible. At the same time, we also know that construction of a stadium can only be achieved with the assistance of external financial partnerships and significant philanthropic support. We will continue to examine possible models for financing, but at this time the University has not identified sources of funding that would allow us to advance to the next stage of planning.

Although funding is clearly the greatest challenge, our due diligence in examining the many options for a possible on-campus stadium have provided answers and data that are of great benefit. We will continue to explore all options as we move forward, and I will update the University community with any future developments.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama