USF football: 55 pages to build Bulls’ on-campus stadium

The construction team chosen to build USF football’s on-campus stadium touted its budget control, local ties and experience — including the ongoing renovation of Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium.

Those selling points are among the details in the 55-page proposal submitted to USF by Manhattan Construction Company, H.J. Russell & Company and DuCon, LLC. Last week, the Bulls announced they were moving forward with that trio to build the $340 million, 35,000-seat stadium just north of the current football practice facilities.

“This is a powerful combination of local relationships and national buying power with specialty vendors associated with sports projects …” the companies wrote. “We are thrilled to support your vision to transform USF Athletics into a modern, elite, and innovative athletic department in delivering a state-of-the-art stadium and sports performance facility for the development of the football and women’s lacrosse programs, creating a sense of community and shared experience among students, staff, alumni, supporters, and faculty.

“Let’s bring the Bulls Home.”

The proposal, obtained Tuesday through an open-records request, offers some financial estimates and construction details. The Manhattan group had the lowest fee for overhead/profit among the bidders: 2.25%. It projected $488,000 in pre-construction fees and $16.1 million in general conditions or indirect costs.

The total construction budget ($324 million) was the same in the proposals from Manhattan and two competitors (Austin Commercial L.P. and the M.A. Mortenson Company). USF previously authorized up to $22 million for design.

The winning bidders wrote they “have confidence that the project timeline is attainable.” They’ve also already spoken with a consulting group about an approach that would speed up the arrival of steel by at least two months.

The proposal broke the project into three groups. The first is the operations center — the day-to-day home for football and women’s lacrosse. Its project manager, Rachel Bauer, has that same role with the football center being built at Texas Tech. The bid vows to have USF’s facility ready in May 2026, a year before the stadium opens.

“We understand the importance of ensuring the early delivery of the (operations center) to support USF’s strategic goal for recruiting and retaining athletics staff, attracting athletes, player performance development, and developing the women’s lacrosse program,” the bid reads.

The second is the stadium itself. Management includes David Steger, who helped build Houston’s 40,000-seat stadium, and Ed Martin, who worked on recent renovations to Raymond James Stadium and 20-plus projects at USF. They’ll build the stadium counterclockwise with two concurrent crews — one starting on the southwest corner, the other on the northeast.

This effort will prioritize the south tower providing ample time for suites, concessions, and press box construction,” the bid reads.

The third group involves utilities and the site while being “accountable for the safety of students, faculty, and guests of USF.”

Manhattan’s bid listed 53 staffers, including 24 project managers and 15 superintendents. It also has at least two engineering interns from USF. Manhattan and DuCon both have Tampa offices.

The firms highlighted their stadium experience. Manhattan built North Texas’ 30,850-seat DATCU Stadium in 2011; that venue helped the Mean Green join the Bulls in the American Athletic Conference a decade later. The partners’ portfolio advertised $1.2 billion worth of work with Populous, the architecture firm designing USF’s stadium. Populous and the builders reached final budgets on two projects in the last year. The portfolio also counts the recent installation of more than 864,741 athletic seats and more than 18 million square feet of athletic space.

Their ongoing projects include the Bradenton Area Convention Center, a utility maintenance facility in Plant City and the nine-figure overhaul to the west and south sides of Doak. More than $65 million in work remains at FSU, but the companies wrote it’s still on track to be ready in July 2025. They said they saved $4 million and two months of work by pivoting to a different foundation system for Tallahassee’s sandy clay soil.

The firms’ top priority is staying on budget. That means creating detailed estimates, having “honest, professional, and tough conversations when needed” and pausing if necessary to run the numbers.

“This is how we guarantee to you that we can achieve the early deliverable for the Sports Performance Center on May 29th, 2026 and ready for game day on March 31st, 2027,” the companies wrote. “We never miss a game!!”

Groundbreaking is scheduled for October.

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