Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Skip navigation

FIU's new football stadium taking shape

Add topic

Post

FIU's new football stadium taking shape

FIU's new football stadium taking shape

Posted on Mon, Feb. 04, 2008

BY PETE PELEGRIN
[email protected]

ERROR: A link was posted here (img) but it appears to be a broken link.


EMILY HARRIS / FOR THE MIAMI HERALD
FIU football coach Mario Cristobal, left, and athletic
director Pete Garcia stand on the turf of the
new stadium.

Take a drive on Florida's Turnpike, and before approaching the Southwest 8th Street exit, glance toward the east and you will see the beacon for a new era at Florida International University.

The east end zone seats and club suites rising above the west side of the university are one part of FIU's ''jewel'' – a $50 million football stadium and the beginning of a burgeoning sports and entertainment complex.

''This facility will be the crown jewel for the entire FIU community,'' FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said. ``It also will be a centerpiece for all of South Florida to enjoy FIU football games, high school football, pro soccer, concerts and other events at this state-of-the-art venue.''

The stadium – which will be built in phases and mirrors the wraparound model of Florida State's Doak Campbell Stadium – opens Sept. 20, with FIU's first home game of the 2008 season against South Florida. It is the only on-campus stadium south of Orlando. In the opening phase, the stadium will seat 20,000, and it eventually will expand to 45,000 with an enclosed upper deck.

Attached to the west end zone seats will be a $12.5 million fieldhouse featuring a state-of-the-art weight training and rehabilitation facility for all FIU athletes.

THE HUB OF FIU
In addition, FIU's student services support center and a welcome center – which will be the hub of FIU – will be embedded into the north side of the stadium. The north side is expected to be finished by 2011. The entire project is expected to cost more than $250 million.

Football might not be the only sport played at FIU Stadium.

At a Miami Sports Commission meeting Jan. 15, Garcia proposed to allow a Major League Soccer expansion team to play rent-free at the stadium. If the MLS decides to play at FIU, it could save Miami-Dade County from spending $120 million on a soccer stadium next to the proposed Marlins stadium on the Orange Bowl site.

''There are two great days in the history of FIU that will occur this year,'' FIU president Modesto ''Mitch'' Maidique said. ``One is when the medical school is accredited, and we hope that is this month. And in September, when we open that stadium and we have a place where all FIU students and alumni can congregate to infuse themselves with blue-and-gold pride.''

FIU Stadium, when completed, will include 1,400 club seats, approximately
50 club suites and a Panther Club on the first floor for club-seats owners.
Shortly after he was hired Oct. 10, 2006, Garcia tweaked the design plans to move the seats as close to the field as possible and still have enough room to hold soccer matches.

''We want to give that Orange Bowl feel where fans are right on top of the players and the action,'' Garcia said. ``There is no wasted space between the sidelines and seats.''

The close proximity of the seats encourages a lively atmosphere, and having the stadium across from the school's dorms also will help, Garcia said.

''There's an excitement all over campus for the stadium,'' FIU student body president Marbely Hernandez said. ``It's going to be a big place for students to gather for not just football, but for other events year-round. We have alumni all over the country that have called to say they are coming down as soon as it opens.''

Maidique said the first two floors of the FIU fieldhouse would be completed by the end of this year. The fieldhouse eventually will have four floors when finished.

`BIG, NEW MONSTER'
Some of the other features of the fieldhouse include the FIU locker room, coaches' offices, meeting rooms, and a patio on the second floor overlooking the stadium for recruits and VIPs.

''The fact that there's a big, new monster going up in the middle of campus, recruits are really excited about that,'' FIU coach Mario Cristobal said. `` …  Now we have all the toys and technology to develop these young men at the highest level. It's here right now; it's not a dream. It's a reality.''

The visiting team's locker room will be located on the east side of the stadium. It will be big enough for a college team, or it can be partitioned to hold two high school or two soccer teams. There will be a separate room for game officials. Above the seats in the east end zone will be a state-of-the-art video scoreboard. The old FIU scoreboard will be placed above the seats in the west end zone.

Maidique said details are being worked on to build an FIU Alumni Center on top of the visiting team's fieldhouse. There also are preliminary discussions about having a restaurant overlooking the field.

With more than 120,000 FIU alumni in South Florida, the Alumni Center could be a welcomed addition.

''As a proud FIU alumni, it excites me to see great progress on campus, and this new stadium is a wonderful example of the growth and expansion of all of our programs, both academic and athletic,'' said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a 1975 FIU graduate. ``Every time I go back to the campus for an event, it astounds me to see all the construction under way.''

MAIN STREET FIU
Along with the Alumni Center, FIU is in talks with Miami-Dade County to build ''Main Street FIU'' just across the northeast corner of the stadium.
''We want to have something similar to Main Street in Miami Lakes,'' Maidique said. ``We're actively engaged in discussions with Miami-Dade County to build an area of retail stores, restaurants on the first floor of Main Street FIU and have student dorms above those businesses.''

Parking and access have been issues at other stadiums, but is not expected to be a problem at FIU stadium.

Spacious lots are on the east and west side of the stadium, along with additional parking at Tamiami Park, which abuts FIU. On the south side of the stadium, suite and club-seats holders have 264 spaces for private parking and a private entrance to the stadium.

Two parking garages on the east side of the stadium are expected to go up when construction begins on Main Street FIU.

Getting to and leaving the stadium is not expected to be a hassle, with access to the turnpike, the Dolphin Expressway and Southwest 8 Street less than two miles from the stadium.

With so much progress being made, is it any wonder FIU officials are beaming?

''We will not compromise with our goals,'' Maidique said. ``We are building that stadium. We are building that fieldhouse and we are going to field a tremendous football team. If you come back here a few years from now, you are not going to recognize FIU or the athletics program from where it is today.''
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

I cant believe Angelos has let us fall so far behind them in that aspect.

Teambeer is the most knowledgeable FAU sports fan I know, way smarter than me.
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

walty12 said

I cant believe Angelos has let us fall so far behind them in that aspect.

Of note:

They are "paying" for thier stadium….

We are not.

We are fundraising for ours…they simply went into reserves and bought it…

Our leadership did not feel comfortable with that "approach"…

and they better Hope for a successful ROI by way of the bold statement "Mitch" made at the end:

"We are building that fieldhouse and we are going to field a tremendous football team."

…because if not - what a slice of pie that will be on his face!
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

"Getting to and leaving the stadium is not expected to be a hassle, with access to the turnpike, the Dolphin Expressway and Southwest 8 Street less than two miles from the stadium."

Plus the fact that no one will go.

Like things, love people.
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

Fledgling said

"Getting to and leaving the stadium is not expected to be a hassle, with access to…the Dolphin Expressway…"

Plus the fact that no one will go.

how anyone could compare the Dolhin expressway to an "easy" drive is beyond…

if i EVER had to travle this road again, i would rather walk…ONE TIME ive been on this road and it was an ABSOLUTE nightmare - NEVER again!

Turnpike, different story alltogether…
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

I wonder if they'll have better "Pa King" there


(outside of the orange bowl some old man attended a parking lot with signs that read "Pa King $5.00")

Like things, love people.
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

Fledgling said

I wonder if they'll have better "Pa King" there


(outside of the orange bowl some old man attended a parking lot with signs that read "Pa King $5.00")

Hmmm…dunno…

"Will park for CrAcK" maybe??
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

Florida_Owl said

walty12 said

I cant believe Angelos has let us fall so far behind them in that aspect.

Of note:

They are "paying" for thier stadium….

We are not.

We are fundraising for ours…they simply went into reserves and bought it…

Our leadership did not feel comfortable with that "approach"…

and they better Hope for a successful ROI by way of the bold statement "Mitch" made at the end:

"We are building that fieldhouse and we are going to field a tremendous football team."

…because if not - what a slice of pie that will be on his face!

Tremendous football team???  Does that mean they will have a winning season, lol?
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

GO PANTHERS!
Back to the top

Post

Re: FIU's new football stadium taking shape

They are not dipping into reserves for that….that is a misleading representation of the truth.  The University floated a $34 million bond secured by revenue streams already determined.  No where is any information where FIU is "paying" for it……As far as everything else….it is looking awesome right now…
Back to the top
Control functions: