UCF Trustees Approve Financing Plan, Groundbreaking for On-Campus Football Stadium

GO KNIGHTS The 45,000-seat stadium is slated for completion in time for the 2007 season.
The 45,000-seat stadium is slated for completion in time for the 2007 season.

Dec. 14, 2005

ORLANDO - The University of Central Florida Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a financing plan for a football stadium that will be built on the north side of campus in time for the 2007 football season. That approval represented the final hurdle to be cleared in order for the stadium to be accepted by the board.

"This is great news for all of UCF and it could not have happened without the leadership and vision of UCF President John Hitt," said UCF Director of Athletics Steve Orsini. "A lot of time and effort by a lot of parties went into today's presentation which resulted in an affirmative vote by the Board of Trustees and I'm excited by what this means for the future of the football program and the entire UCF community."

Construction of the $51 million, 45,000-seat stadium is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2006 and be completed in time for the start of the season in the fall of 2007. It will be located just east of the Anthony and Sonja Nicholson Fieldhouse.

The board last month amended the campus master plan to include the stadium and approved its construction, pending final approval of financing. On Wednesday, the board approved the business plan and created the Golden Knights Corp., a direct-support organization that will finance the stadium on behalf of UCF.

The stadium will have a 30-year debt service that will average about $4 million annually and will be covered by revenues generated by the football stadium from sources like suites and club seat leases, naming rights, ticket and concessions sales, donations, corporate sponsorships and advertising. Conservative estimates show the stadium having an annual income of at least $8.5 million from these sources. No public funds or tuition will be used to build or support the stadium.

"I think the approval of the finances for the stadium is just outstanding," stated UCF head coach George O'Leary, the 2005 Conference USA Coach of the Year. "It is a venture that will pay great dividends in the future."

The university has raised more than $4.5 million in private donations and is negotiating naming rights for the stadium. In addition, the university has leased all of the stadium's suites and club seats for a total of more than $8 million over five years.

"The coach is for real, the team is for real. ... We're going to fill that stadium before we realize it," trustees Chair Dick Nunis said.

The $51 million cost includes $45 million for the stadium design and construction and $6 million for infrastructure that includes roads, parking and practice fields for football, soccer and baseball.

The stadium will have 45,000 seats in a single-bowl configuration; 13,656 of those seats will have back rests. The stadium will also include 800 club seats and 852 seats for fans in wheelchairs and their companions. The 25 suites will have 459 seats total.

Ticket orders are now being accepted for the 2006 football season, which will give ticket buyers a level of priority when seats are sold in the new stadium. Fans can place their ticket order by calling 407.UCF.1000.

UCF has played at the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium near downtown Orlando since the football team's inaugural season in 1979. Earlier this month, the Golden Knights hosted the inaugural Conference USA Championship at the Citrus Bowl. Nearly 52,000 fans attended.

Visit www.stadium.ucf.edu for more information on the stadium or www.bot.ucf.edu for more on the Board of Trustees.



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