We end 2018 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #10: The University of South Alabama builds momentum for a new stadium.
The year 2018 was marked by progress for the University of South Alabama‘s new stadium project. Despite having one of its funding requests rejected, the university accomplished several key tasks in its push to move football into a new on-campus stadium in the coming years.
South Alabama football has played at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium since the program began competing in 2009. Although the venerable facility played a role in the program’s formative years, its aging condition–it originally opened in 1948–combined with an off-campus location played a part in South Alabama’s desire for a new stadium.
To give its football program a long-term home, the university will construct a 25,000-seat stadium on the site of its former intramural fields. With a fairly intimate capacity and on-campus location, the facility should reflect some trends in the fan experience while giving the team more modern facilities.
The project should also yield more than just a stadium, as it also includes plans for an academic center for student athletes. Mobile County voted this fall to sponsor the academic center, approving a $2.5 million contribution that will be paid out over 10 years. While the City of Mobile had previously rejected a $10 million funding request for the facility, the funding from the county still managed to help South Alabama move forward with the planning process.
Heading into 2019, the university is still making progress on the upcoming stadium. Phase II of construction work was approved in November, while the university’s Board of Trustees voted earlier this month to authorize a $75 million bond issue. South Alabama is working on a goal to open the stadium at the start of the 2020 college football season. That means it will be some time before fans and players get to experience the new venue, but ultimately the year is winding down with considerable progress for a new South Alabama stadium.
Rendering courtesy University of South Alabama athletics.