There may not be an FBS program in need of a new stadium more than South Alabama. The Jaguars currently play in Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which is both too large (40,000 seats), too old (built in 1948) and too far (a 20-30 minute drive from campus).
Thankfully for new head coach Steve Campbell, this problem is going to be fixed.
South Alabama’s Board of Trustees on Friday unanimously approved the construction of a new, on-campus stadium. The facility will hold 25,000 spectators and come at a cost of $73 million, which the school says will not draw from student tuition or fees.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” USA AD Joel Erdmann told AL.com. “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 said Friday that this week’s news has been anticipated since the program launched in 2009. He cited SMU’s Ford Stadium, Florida Atlantic’s FAU Stadium, UCF’s Spectrum Stadium, Tulane’s Yulman Stadium and Colorado State Stadium as inspirations.
“It’s literally been the persistent, never-ending question,” he said. “But on a sincere side, it’s been seriously considered and examined for over three years. Site visits, stadium visits, consultants, first renditions, second renditions, cost estimates, back-and-forth, back-and-forth and the very committed, hard work by a lot of people who now have an end product. And now we just need to get there.”
Financing will come, the school hopes, through a public-private partnership, and as such the school will open the stadium up to the city’s major football events — the Dollar General Bowl and the Senior Bowl.
Mobile mayor Sandy Stimpson addressed the news, and the school’s desire to dip into public coffers to fund the stadium, in a Twitter thread.
The school targets a 2020 open date for the new stadium, which means construction will have to begin next month.