Is there still a chance to have the stadium ready for opening day in 2010?
The excitement has been building for a while now and what a better way to set the stage then having a BCS opponent help christen the start of a new era for FAU athletics and for the university.
Even though the window of opportunity is shrinking, there is still hope that it can get done in time for opening day on 2010.
"The train is roaring down the tracks toward opening [the on-campus stadium] in 2010, the architects are on board, the construction folks are on board and it [stadium] has been designed, but the piece that needs to drop into that fast moving train is that financing piece," said FAU Athletics Director Craig Angelos.
It's no mystery that the finances have been holding back the process, but it's the biggest piece of the puzzle left to be ironed out. Angelos added that "the part of the puzzle trying to outsource the housing [part of the Innovation Village] for $12 million and that will be the first domino to fall and so we can use that $12 million dollars to help fund the stadium and then the housing will get going."
"The infrastructure is underway: the Alumni center across the street, the student recreation center, that mall going up on the south side is taking shape the way we anticipated, but the majority of the stuff we have been planning is going on the north side of the street, so everything is going to fall into place."
As the pieces of the puzzle continue to fall into place, Angelos remains positive that the financial aspect will fall into place in time by adding "we're hoping that [the finances] will drop in time for us to still keep that on track and keep that train moving quickly to reach it's destination in 2010."
"If that doesn't happen in a month or two then we will probably have to pull back on the speed of the train and maybe it won't make it by 2010 - maybe make it later on," he said.
How much later? 2011 or 2012? Angelos responded with "I would hope when we pull it back [speed of the train] that it will be a matter of months not years.
Angelos remains positive that it can still get done in time for 2010.
"Once we hit our financial numbers then we are ready to lock in. Right now I'm still optimistic for 2010 until I see otherwise."
The financial benefits of opening day would be a huge boost for the program, not only in turn of the being able to capitalize on what could be one of the largest crowds for an Owl game, but all the possible donors that this event could attract.
Can Florida Atlantic afford to miss the opportunity on capitalizing on any possible momentum that this grand event would create - the grand opening of "FAU Stadium" on Opening Day 2010 against the Spartans? It has all the makings of a monster event that would surely benefit the Owl program on many levels, not quite the same effect if we open the stadium later in the year against a conference foe? Although, in all fairness, there is one out-of-conference game still to be scheduled in 2011.
Sure there is the potential of some short term losses if the stadium is not ready for opening day 2010, but the big picture is the future of the program- and in the long haul, the effect it will have on the program in general is what we need to look at. It is a much needed piece of the puzzle to the continued success that has been unprecedented for a young program.
So regardless of whether it is ready for opening day 2010, the thought of having a place to call home in 2010 should not be under sold. The event, regardless on when it happens, will mark one more step taken, one more accomplishment completed on a road lined with a bright future as the university continues to grow by leaps and bounds.