Mobile County will sponsor an academic center at the new South Alabama stadium, as county officials approved $2.5 million in funding.
The University of South Alabama is planning to construct a new stadium for its football program. Pitched as part of an estimated $72 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.
The academic center for student athletes factors into the plans for the stadium, as the 7,800-square-foot space will be located within the administration building of the facility. On Monday, the Mobile County Commission approved a $2.5 million contribution for what will effectively be naming rights to the academic center. The $2.5 million will be paid out over 10 years, while the space will be named the Mobile County Center for Academic Success. More from AL.com:
The vote came at the commission’s Monday meeting, with commissioners Merceria Ludgood and Connie Hudson voting to commit the money over a 10-year span. Commissioner Jerry Carl wasn’t present but has expressed support for the stadium project in the past.
“We’re very happy to partner with the University of South Alabama on this endeavor,” Hudson said after the vote. “It will be of benefit to all 400-plus athletes in all of the different sports.”
As debate raged through the summer as to whether the city would contribute $10 million to support the stadium project, the county commission took a wait-and-see approach on a similar request. Carl said he supported a contribution, while Ludgood and Hudson said they wanted to see some cost-benefit analysis. The Mobile City Council ultimately voted against funding, and a concrete proposal never made it onto the commission agenda.
On Monday, however, the commission voted to snap up what USA calls one of the “premium investment opportunities” for the stadium project: Naming rights for the Center for Academic Success that’ll be built in the second floor of the stadium. Hudson said it’ll be called the Mobile County Center for Academic Success.
South Alabama is seeking to open the new stadium in time for the 2020 season, and plans to construct it at the former site of its intramural fields. 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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