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sunshine

UCF is planning football stadium

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The University of Central Florida is working on a deal to build an on-campus football stadium, a move that could affect the city of Orlando's plans to renovate the Florida Citrus Bowl.

The $40 million to $45 million UCF facility, while "not a done deal," could be in place by the start of the 2006 season "if everything were to break just right," University President John Hitt said Monday.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he learned of the proposal for a UCF on-campus stadium before Christmas. He said a renovated Citrus Bowl might be a better fit for UCF because it could provide a "world-class" stadium for the school.

Because the UCF plans are in the fledgling stages, Dyer did not know whether they would affect plans to renovate the Citrus Bowl.

"I hope they'll end up in the Citrus Bowl," he said. "I think it's a better venue for them."

Three years after a study showed that an on-campus stadium was financially beyond UCF's grasp, the school is exploring a 45,000- to 50,000-seat stadium at less than half the original estimated cost. The project in 2002 carried a $107 million price tag.

The stadium would be funded by donors, ticket sales and concession sales. Using state money for athletics facilities is prohibited. Any decision about whether to build would have to be approved by the UCF Athletics Association board of directors and by UCF trustees. The project is supported by board of trustees chairman Dick Nunis.

At Hitt's request, Athletic Director Steve Orsini is collecting information about how the school could move games out of the Citrus Bowl, the football team's home for 26 seasons.

Three weeks ago, UCF halted construction of a softball stadium on the east end of campus, Orsini said. That site, which currently encompasses practice fields for soccer, is earmarked for the football stadium.

Orsini said there is no official effort to raise money for a project that has not been announced. But multiple sources close to UCF athletics and the UCF Foundation said several million dollars already has been privately pledged.

"We have not solicited anything," Orsini said. "We have not taken anyone's money."

Hitt and others have long acknowledged an on-campus stadium would happen someday, and a site already was designated in the school's master plan. But the time frame had been measured in decades. That changed with news that the Knights would be homeless for at least one season during a renovation of the aging Citrus Bowl.

Orsini researched other venues -- Daytona Beach's Municipal Stadium and Disney's Wide World of Sports were two -- but the on-campus option became viable when a stadium designer showed Hitt the possibilities of prefabricated construction that uses more steel and less concrete, a process that lowers costs. UCF would not identify the designer.

"I was incredulous that it could be done for that money," Hitt said. "When I told Dick [Nunis] about it, he had the same reaction. He didn't believe it. But as I looked at it and saw the details, the idea really took hold. For the money, we have to look at it."

Hitt has ordered financial, environmental and traffic studies and gave Dyer and Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty a heads-up about UCF's plans before the holidays, representatives of the politicians confirmed.

"Dr. Hitt has questions, and he has asked me to gather as many answers as I can," Orsini said. "No decisions have been made. We're simply gathering information in a number of areas."

Tim Leonard, UCF's major-gifts officer for athletics, said raising money for an on-campus football stadium would eclipse any other project in terms of fund-raising ease.

"I don't know how you'd quantify it," he said. "You could say a lot of people would want to help out."

Coach George O'Leary has endorsed the idea of playing on campus and has said he wants an on-campus facility to entice more students to attend games and to get more high-school prospects -- and coaches -- to campus.

UCF estimates at least 15,000 students would be within walking distance of an on-campus facility.

Dyer and others who support Citrus Bowl renovations, including Florida Citrus Sports Executive Director Tom Mickle, hope to include UCF as a long-term partner in that project. The school would participate only if it plays games at the stadium.

"It may be that we end up back there," Hitt said. "We don't know how this is going to work out. But I can't think of anything that we would do that would stop the city for their plans to make that a great place to play."

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If they ever get big, the Sooners will have to kick their asses.

:rofl:

Just Kidding.

:whistling:

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This is a good thing for UCF, but a bad thing for the city of Orlando. The Citrus Bowl is a piece of crap that needs to be redone. A renovated Citrus Bowl would definately be a shot in the arm for the OBT area. However, if UCF builds on its sprawling campus (which is best for the school), you can kiss the Citrus Bowl's importance good bye.

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I never knew there was a citrus bowl. I suppose it is possible though, because we do have too many college bowl games. I wonder how long it is until we have the Tidy Bowl...

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it will be a win for the east end of Orlando, it will probably enrich the club scene and latenight scene out there (more sportsbars etc.), almost like a second downtown. Only thing is the I-4, 408 junction makes the Citrus Bowl accessible to all in CF and downtown (besides I-drive and the ucw/pi) is the place to be in O-town. The 427 just doesn't do the same service in getting people out that way and its still a drive from the junction on Universal into the campus. I see major traffic headaches over there unless they make some improvements.

Interesting though you have the heathrow section (now up to 46a and STC), the Altamonte section, Maitlands biz corridor, the Disney stuff and I-drive/universal now UCF is becoming more then Quadrangle park and apartments. My prof a few years ago predicted all of I-4 would become like an LA sprawl from St. Pete to Daytona, looks to be happening, heard lakeland has there own beltway, little lakeland! (not so little i know but some major metros have yet to have a unified beltway . . . like orlando and Pittsburgh)

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I understand why the school would want to have an on campus stadium, but I think it could make sense for UCF to buy the Citrus Bowl and renovate that, saving costs and owning the place.

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I think every Division I school should have an on-campus football stadium, even a glorified junior college like UCF (I'm kidding! I'm kidding!)

Good for the school, especially if it wants to shed itself of that commuter college stigma. Of course, I think the lack of a football stadium should be the least of UCF's concerns. How bout hiring a few more professors so students can actually get in the classes they need to in order to graduate? But I digress.

For downtown, I don't think it's the death knell of the Citrus Bowl, or the up-in-the-air plans to refurbish it.

But I think Orlando's leaders really need to sit down and think what kind of sports facilities the city and region need, now and in the future. When it comes to these types of facilities, the conversations only come up when something happens, like the Magic threatening to move, or UCF planning a stadium. Let's get a plan, instead of reacting all the time.

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I graduated from UCF and UF and would like to say this "UCF is a crappy school!"

Why would they want a stadium when their football team sucks? Who is going to go see it?

Besides, since the location of the school is so isolated, out in the middle of nowhere, I would say almost all the students have cars. If they really like to see the game, the wouldnt mind drive the extra 15 minutes to go to Downtown Orlando. There is where they go clubbing everynites anyway. They should just move the whole university to downtown since they already have downtown UCF.

Hopefully, FAMU will do the magic for downtown Orlando, put extra 10 thousands young guys in the downtown area.

Go Gator!!

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Good for the school, especially if it wants to shed itself of that commuter college stigma. Of course, I think the lack of a football stadium should be the least of UCF's concerns. How bout hiring a few more professors so students can actually get in the classes they need to in order to graduate? But I digress.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If they quit paying the professors that dont show up to work or came in at 10 and left at 2 so much money....they can afford anything....

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no big fan of UCF (unless they play PennState lol) but I've heard that enrollment is the largest in the state system now dwarfing UF and FSU and that the state is pouring money into the campus.

Again not easily accessbile by even 427 not like the I-4 408 junct. downtown.

Also on the renovation thing sometimes it costs MORE to renovate then to build new, think about it with houses, if you buy a fixer upper sometimes that could cost as much to repair as just building a new home ;)

and yes the CB for those that only drove past it, those were facades they tacked on about a decade or so ago, I was there for a concert one time, wow the guts of the stadium, the concourse etc. OOOLLLLLLDDDDDD. thought some parts would be good backdrops for 1930s gangster movies.

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I think they should just sell it to a Hollywood movie company and have them blow it up in some movie and make some money out of it.

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A move would be bad for both UCF and Orlando. I doubt UCF can afford to build a stadium with the size and amenities of the Citrus Bowl. I also doubt that a on-place will provide the attendance boost their looking for. If the team is good people will go anywhere, if not, they won't go anywhere. Look at UM and the Orange Bowl.

Is the citrus getting other uses?

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If we have the citrus bowl, where is the tidy bowl? Sorry, I have to keep bringing this up, it's too hilarious.

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Sunshine Wrote:

I think they should just sell it to a Hollywood movie company and have them blow it up in some movie and make some money out of it.
:D thats not a bad idea, it's been done before! A remake of the 70s classic Black Sunday . . . oh run for your life its the goodyear blimp!!!!!

Brickell Wrote:

Is the citrus getting other uses?

Concerts and the CapOne and Citrus bowl games right?

Isn't some HS football games played in the CB too?

SCE wrote:

If we have the citrus bowl, where is the tidy bowl? Sorry, I have to keep bringing this up, it's too hilarious

don't get it . . . do I want to get it? :P

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I was under the impression that UCF was getting better and better, am I wrong? They certainly are expanding. They don't need to hire more professors, they need to limit enrollment, thus making the school more competitive.

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This is by far the most disappointing thread I've ever read on this site. There are so many comments that are just flat out wrong that I don't even know where to start.

First, as for the traffic, it seems many of you aren't even familiar with the area or just aren't even trying to think seriously about the issue. As a few posters have pointed out, UCF is a very large school (I believe in the 40-50 thousand student range, and I don't think this figure includes faculty, staff and grad students) that continues to have a large number of students who commute to school. Think about it for a second, every weekday over 40,000 students, faculty and staff drive onto campus without major problems (UCF I believe has the lowest amount of on-campus dorms of any state university in Florida), so why should there be major traffic problems when at most 40-50 thousand people drive to campus on less congested Saturdays (and many more well be car pooling when they're driving to a ball game than when they're driving to school or work). In addition, the non-student residential development around University and Alafaya has been explosive in the last decade or so. Anyone who drives around the area during the week knows there are thousands and thousands of commuters who use these roads in addition to all of the students. These roads are certainly very crowded during rush-hour during the week, but are pretty empty on Saturday mornings and afternoons (when almost no students are driving to school and most residents don't have to drive to work).

Also, as far as major roads, there are two 408 exists very close to campus (research park and University).

I'll respond to more of these posts when I get a chance but I'm going to see the movie Sideways right now. Anyway, I don't understand why most of you don't see the benefits of an on-campus stadium (easy access for almost all students, it brings alumni back on campus, and the real possibility of filling the stadium up on a regular basis--say 20,000 students (who get in for free) and 20,000 alumni and local fans of college football).

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never said I don't see the benes to it, just that the UCF area ain't the 408 and I-4,

sorry about earlier I reffered to the 417 as the 427, UCF does have access to the 417 and thus the 408 but it is still a few miles to campus from the University exchange, lights and the traffic right now is kinda unbearable.

As far as having the states largest student pop. and it being mostly off campus, I believe I was the first to point that out . . . I think they were building more dorms on campus last time I was down there, but your right traditionally they've been off, but across Alayfaya or down University within a few miles of campus, could you imagine the traffic on 2 (or 3) lane 417 or 408 and the exchange at University Blvd. if USC played an undefeated UCF in october?! this isn't 40,000 kids and profs all driving a few blocks or down from Oviedo (or even commuting from across town) at different times of the day, maybe 3 days a week, its 50-60k trying to get off at University Blvd. from the Greenway all at once! If UCF is keeping its promise of being big time then FDOT better get in the grove, maybe extend the 408 extension up and around the back end of campus from Colonial, expand Unversity and Alafaya (again) maybe even build a few more exchanges with the 417 and the 408 so there are alternate routes.

In Pittsburgh for example the college football stadium is right off of Interstate 279 and PA 65 which is limited access "interstate like" within a mile of the stadium it hooks up with I-579 and I-376 and even with all this interstate grade traffic management there are still backups 5-10 miles long on rivals game night! This is for a team that hasn't done so hot lately and hasn't sold out the stadium that many times! Think of the 417 and University when USC plays 4-0 UCF two years from now, thats my only concern, UCF is hard to get to its just not off an interstate or tollway you have to "go find it" and wait in traffic. A 408 loop back to east campus and the new stadium would be nice though!

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This is by far the most disappointing thread I've ever read on this site.  There are so many comments that are just flat out wrong that I don't even know where to start. 

First, as for the traffic, it seems many of you aren't even familiar with the area or just aren't even trying to think seriously about the issue.  As a few posters have pointed out, UCF is a very large school (I believe in the 40-50 thousand student range, and I don't think this figure includes faculty, staff and grad students) that continues to have a large number of students who commute to school.  Think about it for a second, every weekday over 40,000 students, faculty and staff drive onto campus without major problems (UCF I believe has the lowest amount of on-campus dorms of any state university in Florida), so why should there be major traffic problems when at most 40-50 thousand people drive to campus on less congested Saturdays (and many more well be car pooling when they're driving to a ball game than when they're driving to school or work).  In addition, the non-student residential development around University and Alafaya has been explosive in the last decade or so.  Anyone who drives around the area during the week knows there are thousands and thousands of commuters who use these roads in addition to all of the students.  These roads are certainly very crowded during rush-hour during the week, but are pretty empty on Saturday mornings and afternoons (when almost no students are driving to school and most residents don't have to drive to work).

Also, as far as major roads, there are two 408 exists very close to campus (research park and University). 

I'll respond to more of these posts when I get a chance but I'm going to see the movie Sideways right now.  Anyway, I don't understand why most of you don't see the benefits of an on-campus stadium (easy access for almost all students, it brings alumni back on campus, and the real possibility of filling the stadium up on a regular basis--say 20,000 students (who get in for free) and 20,000 alumni and local fans of college football).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I see the benefits, for UCF, having an on-campus stadium, I just don't think it will benefit the Orlando region, in general. BTW, When did UCF overtake USF and UF in student population? Does anyone have any links to this?

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After having worked with UF for years, and after moving doen here to work with UCF, she seems to think that UCF is head-and-shoulders above UF in any number of areas.

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never said I don't see the benes to it, just that the UCF area ain't the 408 and I-4,

sorry about earlier I reffered to the 417 as the 427,  UCF does have access to the 417 and thus the 408 but it is still a few miles to campus from the University exchange, lights and the traffic right now is kinda unbearable. 

As far as having the states largest student pop. and it being mostly off campus, I believe I was the first to point that out . . . I think they were building more dorms on campus last time I was down there, but your right traditionally they've been off, but across Alayfaya or down University within a few miles of campus,  could you imagine the traffic on 2 (or 3) lane 417 or 408 and the exchange at University Blvd. if USC played an undefeated UCF in october?!  this isn't 40,000 kids and profs all driving a few blocks or down from Oviedo (or even commuting from across town) at different times of the day, maybe 3 days a week, its 50-60k trying to get off at University Blvd. from the Greenway all at once!  If UCF is keeping its promise of being big time then FDOT better get in the grove, maybe extend the 408 extension up and around the back end of campus from Colonial, expand Unversity and Alafaya (again) maybe even build a few more exchanges with the 417 and the 408 so there are alternate routes. 

In Pittsburgh for example the college football stadium is right off of Interstate 279 and PA 65 which is limited access "interstate like" within a mile of the stadium it hooks up with I-579 and I-376 and even with all this interstate grade traffic management there are still backups 5-10 miles long on rivals game night!  This is for a team that hasn't done so hot lately and hasn't sold out the stadium that many times!  Think of the 417 and University when USC plays 4-0 UCF two years from now, thats my only concern, UCF is hard to get to its just not off an interstate or tollway you have to "go find it" and wait in traffic. A 408 loop back to east campus and the new stadium would be nice though!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The proposed stadium capacity is 40-50 thousand, so I don't see where you're citing 60 thousand. Plus, the stadium will be used on Saturday afternoons and evenings, when traffic is almost always very light. As to your point about the 417/408 backing up, it backs up by the citrus bowl exit as well. However, I really don't think the traffic will be that bad. It's already an area that handles quite a bit of traffic as is, and I can't imagine that it will be overwhelmed by 40-50 thousand people on a Saturday afternoon.

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This is by far the most disappointing thread I've ever read on this site.  There are so many comments that are just flat out wrong that I don't even know where to start. 

First, as for the traffic, it seems many of you aren't even familiar with the area or just aren't even trying to think seriously about the issue.  As a few posters have pointed out, UCF is a very large school (I believe in the 40-50 thousand student range, and I don't think this figure includes faculty, staff and grad students) that continues to have a large number of students who commute to school. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If so many commute to school, then the affect of an on campus stadium would be small. An on-facility is great, but really isn't needed in auto-oriented place like UCF.

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Whenever UCF starts WINNING games than they should be rewarded with thier own pie in the sky (50,000 seat capacity) stadium. Until than they should be content with renting out the Citrus Bowl for a few years. Thats my 2 cents

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I see the benefits, for UCF, having an on-campus stadium, I just don't think it will benefit the Orlando region, in general.  BTW, When did UCF overtake USF and UF in student population?  Does anyone have any links to this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

UCF undergrad population passed UF, but UF's grad student population puts UF slightly ahead overall. FWIW, I had dinner tonight with someone who work's at UCF and she said that they thought there were about 5,000 employees that work at UCF as well. Also, she said that when she started working there nine years ago the student population was about 30,000 and that it is now about 43,000. She said that she had heard they're going to cap growth at 50,000, but they also said that they were going to cap growth at 40,000 before.

http://www.fldcu.org/factbook/quickfacts.asp

Headcount Enrollment by University, Fall 2004

Undergrad Grad Unclass Total

UF 33,044 13,106 730 46,880

FSU 29,899 7,151 1,149 38,199

FAMU 10,025 2,415 251 12,691

USF 32,486 7,617 1,464 41,567

FAU 19,999 3,024 1,850 24,873

UWF 7,856 1,279 755 9,890

UCF 35,568 6,405 1,083 43,056

FIU 26,243 4,623 2,724 33,590

UNF 12,977 1,684 152 14,813

FGCU 5,187 714 473 6,374

NCF 658 0 0 658

SUS 213,942 48,018 10,631 272,591

Source: DOE - Fall 2004 First Day of Classes

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Whenever UCF starts WINNING games than they should be rewarded with thier own pie in the sky (50,000 seat capacity) stadium. Until than they should be content with renting out the Citrus Bowl for a few years. Thats my 2 cents

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I understand your point, but you're really punishing the students for the team's performance. For a great number of students at many colleges, going to games on campus is one of the great college experiences (and probably a reason why so many of the alumni come back for games at other programs).

Also, I would argue that an on-campus stadium is essential to what makes college football great. Don't any of you watch Gameday on ESPN where they broadcast from a different campus every week? I'm sure there are a few exceptions, but when you take the stadium off campus you fundamentally change something that is essential to the entire college football experience.

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As far as the capacity . . . wow I missed that only 50k?!? For a school that has surpassed FSU and is looking to be a major power in college football that is TINY, I realize it all comes down to money and boosters and its tough when theres little tradition (I realize the U. has been around since the 1960s but its not the same as a UF as far as the money rolling in for the football team). Isn't the swamp and Doak approaching 100,000 or over? Beaver stadium is well over 100,000 and they have no tickets available, even U. of Pittsburgh has 65,000 and their program suffers from being in a "pro town". Even the old University stadium here had close to 57,000 and was built in the 1920s!

If you are looking to be a playa in the college football scene (especially if you are in a "college town" with football and don't compete with an NFL team with deep pockets) then go 70,000+ remember when they built the Orlando Arena (now TDW) they were afraid they were making it TOO big, turns out its not big enough, this only 15 years or so after it was built.

Big time college football, from what I read UCF wants it, demands a stadium of 75k+ in a "college football" town. Back to square one with the traffic deal. And yes I know they get backups near the CB but you can see the stadium from the 408 and actually can see it from I-4 too right beyond TDWC. UCF is not as close to the 408 and 417 thats what FDOT and Orange County need to prepare for, the 408 loop back north of colonial right to the stadium doorstep would be awesome and is very doable. Some expansion of the exits on Univ. and Alafaya as well as widenings and possibly another few exits might be the best way to do it. ;)

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