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FSU’s plans to renovate football stadium, upgrade facilities unveiled

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Changes are coming in Tallahassee

Florida State University held its latest Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, April 1, discussing sweeping infrastructure changes across campus but especially focusing on the renovations and upgrades around athletic facilities.

Using funds raised under the first year of his tenure as CEO of Seminole Boosters Inc., FSU’s fundraising arm, Michael Alford presented a vision of both a new Doak Campbell Stadium and facilities at large.

On Wednesday April 14, the school officially shared the plans for the football-only facility in a press release.

“We recently reached the $100 million pledge goal of the Unconquered Campaign and will continue to raise funds to accomplish all of our goals,” Alford said Wednesday.

“We are receiving a great response from our benefactors including many commitments to the new football facility project. In our discussions, they are excited about the vision and direction of the athletic department and Seminole Boosters.”

The football operations building will be the new day-to-day home of Florida State football. Located adjacent to the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Complex and the Dunlap practice fields, the new center will be one of the most significant investments in the program’s history. Inside its 150,000 square feet of dedicated space, Seminole student-athletes will enjoy first-class resources including:

· Dedicated football training facility attached to the existing Dunlap Athletic Training Center

· 13 position meeting rooms

· Indoor walk-thru meeting area adjacent to position meeting rooms

· Locker room

· Dedicated recruiting lounge/suite

· Offices for Football Coaching Staff

· Private Event Space

· Strength Training and Weight Room Centers that include:

Walk-thru recovery pools

Custom hot/cold plunge pools

Underwater treadmill pools

Dedicated recovery suite

Cryotherapy, hyperbaric chamber, high altitude room

· Team Meeting Rooms

· Player development areas

· Virtual Reality/Performance Enhancement Areas

· Nutrition/Fueling Stations

· Coaches Video/Production Offices

“This facility project is all about attracting the very best student-athletes and developing them, in all aspects,” said Alford. “We are committed to fostering an environment where every student-athlete is able to perform at a high level while receiving leadership and life-skills training that they can take with them after they graduate.

“Ultimately, this facility will accommodate programs that will help our student-athletes and teams succeed. All 20 programs will benefit from this project and we are excited to help make this possible in partnership with our supporters.”

According to the release, the Moore renovation will more than double the current square footage of the current academic support unit, as well as expanding dining areas andsports medicine/strength and conditioning facilities shared by all 20 FSU sports.

Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL), a sports entertainment venue consulting firm, teamed up with FSU to find the best solutions going forward to enhance the gameday experience in Tallahassee. One prominent data fact they based their research around — 91 percent of fans showed positive feelings towards “long-term enhancements to Doak Campbell Stadium.”

The main in-stadium renovations seem to be the removal of the bulk of FSU’s metal bleachers, being replaced by a field-level club with chair-back seats in a club area, private four to six-seat open-air boxes and premium sideline suites — which allow fans to walk up to a mezzanine area directly behind the FSU bench.

“70% of our fan base comes from over an hour and a half away on a Saturday. Where are they coming from? Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta. What’s in those markets? Professional stadiums,” Alford said to the Tallahassee Democrat.

“So they’re used to different amenities that we’re not offering. Now, do we have to offer at the prices that the (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) do? No. But do we have to have a variety of amenities? That’s what they’re asking us to provide.”

Other big changes have been proposed to the stadium’s south end zone, which would become a more multi-layered seating experience, with choices between cabanas, standing-room-only tickets (a spot in the stadium and a table to use, but no seat) and premium suites with comfy sofas and phone chargers.

Tentatively, the changes would lower capacity at the stadium from about 80,000 to around 70,000. The estimated timeline would be to have things wrapped up by the 2024 season.

Alford said to the Democrat that season ticket holders affected by any of their seats being removed or changed will “get first priority on where they may want to move or if they want to move into one of the new sideline areas...FSU will [then] go down its priority booster order from the Legacy Chief members all the way down to the Iron Arrow members,” contacting members personally through individual meetings.

While the renovations to the stadium were simply unveiled, rather than voted on or approved, several big decisions were made today:

  • FSU’s Real Estate Foundation will finance and purchase Champions Hall from the Boosters for as much as $12 million, with it then leasing the space back to the Boosters over a period of 7 years with an option for the fundraising arm to purchase it back.
  • Taking some debt off the Boosters ledger with some influx of immediate cash
  • Approval to build an academic hotel next to the Civic Center, run by a private company in partnership with the College of Hospitality to provide internship/externship programs for students

The entire press release can be viewed below:

Today, FSU Athletics and Seminole Boosters received approval from the Board of Trustees (BOT) to begin conversations with our fan base regarding new conceptual experiences at Doak Campbell Stadium. The permission given by the BOT was the first of many steps to address the preferences expressed by our ticket-holders and infrastructure needs and repairs within the stadium.

The following information is based on the initial approval. More details and information will follow throughout this spring and summer.

In direct response to the preferences revealed over several years of surveys of our football season tickets holders, Florida State began planning for experiential enhancements in 2019.

In February of 2020, we collaborated with Legends/CSL to conduct a market study, which included a donor/fan survey regarding the current and desired experiences at Doak Campbell Stadium.

A summary of the survey results can be found at the conclusion of this announcement.

Following the survey, the next step was hiring an experienced architectural firm specializing in athletic venues, which took place last fall when FSU entered into an agreement with Populous, the recognized world leader in the field. Populous is a global architectural firm with over 3,000 projects completed, including Olympic and Super Bowl venues.

The primary goals of a proposed stadium renovation project are:

  • Update and improve the overall fan experience
  • Address stadium infrastructure issues
  • Add a variety of seating experiences (from three to 10) ranging from standing porches to sideline loge boxes
  • Add comfort to seating options
  • Enhance the concourses spaces and create new social gathering/entertainment areas
  • Create a funding model to support athletic facility priorities

Populous has provided a proposed plan for conceptual redevelopment that meets these goals beginning with the 2024 season.

Pre-selling the new conceptual experiences will begin this fall and take place over the next two years.

We look forward to sharing more information about this project with you soon. In the meantime, enclosed are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this project.

It is a tremendously exciting time for the future of Seminole football. Thank you for your loyal support of Florida State Athletics and the mission of winning on and off the field.