FAU on-campus stadium APPROVED

This just in: By unanimous vote, the BOT has approved plans for a $62 million, 30,000-seat on-campus stadium to open September 2010.

The vote was no surprise, but it took forever to get there. Nearly five hours of presentations, speeches, most b-o-r-i-n-g but I guess necessary. There were a couple nice hilites.

Couple heros for stadium backers: BOT chair Norm Tripp, who really did get choked up when he gave his speech, which was comparable to anything I have heard from The Voice.

"When [the state] gave us a university, they didn’t tell us we had to be a second rate university forever. We have the right to make this a world class institution right now. We have a right to bring to this university a full experience. We have the right to become a world class university."

Great stuff, and there was more.

And Craig Dunlap (see below).

WORD OF CAUTION: There is still work to do. The stadium is supposed to be self sufficient, so the money needs to come from sale of naming rights, suites, club seats, other sponsorships, donations, etc.

FAU has about a year to get the money lined up. Is there a chance they won't get it? Slim one, but I really, really doubt anything can stop this now.

More later, but I have to interview some folks. I do work for a newspaper.


Let’s call the stadium UCF Lite. Similar looking, just fewer seats.

To recap ---- first, here is the artist rendition of the proposed stadium. Basically UCF with one open end zone.

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A lot of supporters showed up.

The HBHD talisman wouldn't miss this meeting for the world...
What we've learned so far: projected attendance is 16,200 per game, average ticket price will be $24, if you want a luxury suite, start saving $45,000 (there will be 20 of those), and club seats will go for $1,500 (and 1,000 of those).

The stadium will be 30,000 seats because that is all FAU can afford at this time.

One of the most compelling testimonies came from an unlikely source. Craig Dunlap is a number cruncher hired by the BOT to oversee the finance plan for the proposed stadium.

He went on for about an hour that seemed like 10, and when he said “I am almost through,” the crowd nearly broke out in applause.

But before Dunlap, who would lose me later on when talking about Indicative T-E Rates (swapped to maturity), plus 50 b.p., assumes LOC Agreement, etc. etc., got into the numbers, he shared a personal story with the BOT.

He told them that he had helped work on the UCF stadium and because of that had purchased two club seats and was sitting in those seats Saturday when the Knights hosted Texas.

“My 10-year-old son and I attended the UCF game Saturday. I must tell you it was the most gratifying day of my public finance career.

See how a football stadium energized that community. The students were ecstatic, the band playing two or three hours before the game, the stadium was full, the football team, when they came out of the lockeroom, you thought the carpet was a trampoline.

Incredible. As I say it was a particularly gratifying day for me. To see how much enthu-siasm and support it brought. It was a good day. UCF played Texas very well. They won that game in many other ways than on the scoreboard.

In September of 2010 I hope you will have that same opportunity.”

Whew. Nice job, Craig. I almost had tears in my eyes. If there might have been any doubt before that in any of the BOT members minds, I would assume that washed it away.

Dunlap also mentioned that UCF has sold 24,000 season tickets and wished it had built more suites and club seats, since they were all sold out well before the first game.

Dunlap ended by saying he was endorsing the project and recommending that the BOT approve it.

That will happen, but first we have to listen to Little Big Man, The Suit, The Voice and others, so this thing may not happen until 2 p.m.

There’s a reason they call it work, so I’ll be here until the end.