Wednesday’s FAU Daily Briefing: What you need to know about stadium vote
Howard Schnellenberger began touting the idea of an on-campus stadium for the Florida Atlantic football program from the minute he arrived on campus in 1998.
By the end of today, Schnellenberger could be closer to seeing his dream, his vision and his ultimate goal for this program become a reality than ever before.
FAU’s trustees will listen to a financing proposal and then vote to proceed with bringing the Owls to campus, where football should be played.
There will still be hurdles to clear – namely the expected approval of the deal by Regions Bank and final approval by the Florida Board of Governors on Sept. 16. Today’s vote doesn’t mean a stadium is coming to FAU, but it’s the final approval from the Board of Trustees and it’s a big step in the right direction.
Here’s some FAQ’s on what today’s developments mean...
Q: Is the stadium vote a ‘done deal’?
A: Approval is expected by the trustees, but anyone who thinks this has already been decided hasn’t been paying very much attention to the twists and turns over the last 10 years. In fact, the last time the process was described as a series of rubber-stamps was a few months ago. You know the rest – FAU ran into a series of delays that has FAU cutting it close to have the project completed in time for the 2011 season.
Way too many people have looked foolish in the past with premature predictions for what path this journey would take only to be forced to back-track. Oh, I expect the trustees to approve, but as we've seen before, anything can happen so pardon me if I wait it until the vote is actualy cast.
Q: If the project is approved by the board, what’s next?
A: The financing must be approved by the lender, Regions Bank. However, Regions Bank has been involved in the process since it was accepted as the lender, so it knows what FAU is planning and is comfortable with the deal.
The final approval will come from the Board of Governors on Sept. 16. FAU is confident the project will be approved by the board, which includes chairman Frank Brogan, the former FAU president who oversaw much of the funding proposal. Also on the board is former FAU trustee Norm Tripp, who also is familiar with the project and put David Kian in charge of this massive undertaking when he was chairman of the FAU BOT. Both Brogan and Tripp had plenty to do with this project getting off the ground and presumably would like to see the project approved.
Q: Enough bureaucracy. When can construction start and when it can be finished?
A: If the Governors approve it, the next step is closing, which is to take place by Oct. 1, but may not take that long and could be a few days after the meeting. After that, it will be time to page Dr. Mary Jane Saunders, Kian, Howard Schnellenberger, Craig Angelos and Terry Mohajir and tell them to report to the construction site to stick the ceremonial shovels in the ground.
Q: What about the 2011 season?
A: Kian told me Tuesday that the normal 18-month construction process can be squeezed into a 12-month time frame primarily because much of the site preparation work is already underway thanks to the dorms under construction in the housing component of Innovation Village.
However, I don’t own a hard hat and didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but it doesnt take a construction engineer to know there isn’t much (or any) room for delays before the opening would have to be pushed back to later in the season – or even after the season.
That said, I’ve been impressed with the speed of the construction of the dorms, but throw a couple of bad storms in there and the construction crew will really be up against the clock.
Q: What will the final product look like?
A; That may be the best part of this whole process. Check out these renderings and let me know if the wait has been worth it.
The renderings released Tuesday
show a stadium that Schnellenberger and Owl fans can be proud of and will be the crown jewel of the campus and the city of Boca Raton.
There have been plenty of ups and downs as FAU has tried to get this stadium built, but someday soon FAU fans will be able sit down in this facility in the first college football game in Palm Beach County and no one will remember the delays. We’ll just be happy that finally – there’s Football in Paradise.
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