In a major step forward, the University of South Alabama Board of Trustees approved a resolution on Friday relating to a new University of South Alabama stadium.
South Alabama is pushing a plan to construct a new on-campus stadium for its football program. The current goal is to complete the venue in time for the 2020 college football season, and to have it replace the off-campus Ladd-Peebles Stadium as the program’s home.
With its vote on Friday, the Board of Trustees unanimously authorized school president Tony Waldrop to start awarding bids for the new stadium’s construction. This does not completely finalize the stadium as the funding formula still has to fall into place, but Friday’s vote could still help to move the planning process forward. More from AL.com:
While Friday’s vote does not make an on-campus stadium for the Jaguars a 100 percent certainty, it is a “tremendous step forward” in that direction, USA athletics director Joel Erdmann said. The school must still secure much of the project’s proposed $73-million funding, which would come from repurposed athletic funds and private and corporate donations, as well as additional pledges from city and county government.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Erdmann said. “There’s resources and funding that needs to be identified, but we’ve been given permission to proceed with ground work and the first step toward our goal.”
Erdmann told the board Friday that while meetings with City of Mobile and Mobile County officials had taken place, neither body has yet committed to providing the school with a portion of the funding needed. South Alabama is asking for from $5 million-$10 million from both the city and county for the project, primarily to be used for debt service.
Mobile County Commission president Connie Hudson told AL.com Friday morning that the university has approached all three commissioners individually, but “we’ve not had a discussion about it.” She didn’t know when such an official discussion might occur, she said.
Ground for the new South Alabama stadium could be broken this summer, with the construction process unfolding over a timeline that allows the facility to open in 2020. The new stadium is slated to have a seating capacity around 25,000, and offer modern team and fan amenities. South Alabama’s football program has called Ladd-Peebles Stadium its home since beginning play in 2009.
Rendering courtesy University of South Alabama athletics.
RELATED STORIES: New South Alabama Stadium “Feasible,” Says School President