Through a trustee vote late last week, the University of South Alabama was authorized to move forward with the bidding process for Phase II work on its new stadium.
South Alabama is planning to construct a new stadium for its football program. Pitched as part of an estimated $73 million project, the new facility would allow the football program to depart the aging, off-campus Ladd-Peebles Stadium in favor of a modern on-campus venue.
A request for City of Mobile funding to help pay for debt service was recently rejected, but South Alabama officials are now undertaking a fundraising effort to help cover the cost of the facility. The project took a step forward on Thursday, when a trustee committee authorized the new South Alabama stadium bid process for Phase II work. Plenty of steps remain, but the vote allows the planning process to move forward. More from AL.com:
The executive committee of the USA board of trustees authorized President Tony Waldrop to open the bidding process on Phase II work on the stadium. That includes “the shell of the press tower, the shell of the operations building, and the lower-bowl cast-in-place concrete for seating.” Phase I, already under way, consists of site preparation.
The vote leaves some significant questions unanswered. While it authorizes Waldrop to begin taking bids, no date has been set for when those bids will be opened and a contract awarded. Whether that happens and when will depend on the fundraising side of the equation.
“We will not have the ability to award the bid until we go back to the board again,” USA Athletic Director Joel Erdmann said after the vote.
The move came a little over three weeks after the Mobile City Council rejected a proposal for the city to commit $10 million to help with debt service on the estimated $73 million project. After that setback, USA launched a “Get On Campus” fundraising campaign to build support for the project.
South Alabama is seeking to open the new stadium by the 2020 season. Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which originally opened in 1948, has been the home of South Alabama football since the program began play in 2009.
Rendering courtesy University of South Alabama athletics.
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