FSU Athletics, boosters have ‘aggressive schedule’ for building football operations
Twelve of the 14 schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference have buildings dedicated to football operations. Miami and Florida State are the only two not to, but that will soon change.
“We have an aggressive schedule,” Florida State athletic director Michael Alford told the Osceola. “We are working with the president. We know this is a priority for President (Peter) Collins, President (Richard) McCullough and myself. We need to get this facility built.
Florida’s dedicated soccer facility will open this summer, which means FSU will be one of eight Power 5 schools without a dedicated soccer building, Alford said.
“I hate to put a timeline on this, but we’re on schedule to start digging in 10, 12 months,” Alford said.
Architectural firm Populus is in Tallahassee this week to meet with trainer Mike Norvell, review plans and iron out final installation needs.
“They’re going to sit down with Coach (Norvell) and see some final designs after we’ve gone through all the processes,” Alford said. “They’re going to talk with voters, who are going to be in the facility and getting their input. It’s targeted. »
Alford said he is currently discussing finances with various people about how to fund the facility. The Seminoles currently have about $50 million pledged to the project, which could cost $85 million or more to build.
“Fundraising is going extremely well,” Alford said. “We’re about to have another little push on that with some of the proposals we have out there coming in. We’re very pleased.”
It is important to note that the $50 million currently pledged is not cash. Typically, a donor commits to giving money for five years or more. Even with a conscientious commitment, sometimes bad things can happen in an individual’s professional or personal life and lead to non-payment or late payment of pledges. It is not uncommon for a fundraising campaign to have a payout rate as low as 80%.
“We are looking at different financial models; what is the best route to follow? said Alford. “So that’s the process we’re going through right now with a number of different people so that we can make an informed decision on how best to fund this facility.”
Investment projects of this size are often tied to the surety company seeking revenue. FSU can pledge to guarantee the loan, just like you had to show your income when applying for a mortgage.
Virtually all sports facilities built at FSU since the 1990s have been built with bond financing and secured by a variety of revenue sources, including subscriptions, annual fund donations, skybox leases, royalties, and more.
The football operations building, which is expected to be 150,000 square feet or more, will derive revenue from rental space that may be pledged on loan.
“We’re trying to make sure we have space that will be needed and not wasted in there,” Alford said. “It’s going to have a revenue component. I don’t like to build facilities without a revenue component. We are talking to some people about renting a floor that will bring revenue to this building, but also help us with our student-athletes.
Alford looks to his former employer, the Dallas Cowboys, for inspiration and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Nova Center as an example.
“What the Eagles did with the Nova Center was rehab,” Alford said. “It could be rehab, it could be orthopedic, it could be some kind of facility that will benefit the campus, our student-athletes and the community.”
The State of Florida is also deeply committed to developing long overdue infrastructure upgrades to Doak Campbell Stadium to improve accessibility and life safety in a structure whose sections are now 70 years old. While these infrastructure improvements benefit the general public, Florida State has also actively raised funds to build premium seating sections in the west side of the stadium.
Alford will meet with the board on Tuesday, February 8 to set the timeline for improvements at Doak and seek permission to move forward.
“That’s where we are. Are we ready to take the next step to hire a sports architecture firm? Alford explained what his report will entail. “We have eight (of eight) Founder’s Suites engaged and three of the four Founder’s Lodges.”
Seminole Boosters has raised over $30 million in pledges to date for the Doak Campbell Stadium premium seating portion of the stadium improvements.
“People are receptive when we show them the stadium and what we’re doing,” Alford said. “When we sit you down one by one and really show the comparisons, that’s when people are like, ‘OK, now I get it. ”
Although the two projects are independent of each other, Alford said there is a possibility that the two projects could be financed by a single bond issue, where the revenue generated from the premium seating section could guarantee payments on the football operations building.