TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The future of Florida A&M University's football stadium looks brighter following a vote from the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Thursday.
The board granted the University millions of dollars for renovations!
In July, FAMUs president Larry Robinson told the board without renovations to Bragg Stadium the Rattlers would more than likely have to play somewhere else temporarily for the 2021 season and asked for $6.3 million for renovations and upgrades.
On Thursday, FAMU asked the board for $10 million to fund major structural repairs to the stadium, saying there is no funding remaining to commit to the project without cutting other programs and building debt.
After the board's vote, FAMUANs are ready to get back to Bragg.
"It's a great day to be a Rattler," said Kortne Gosha, the Vice President and Director of Athletics at Florida A&M University.
He says it's been a long time coming for renovations at Bragg Memorial Stadium.
"The need was imminent," Gosha said. "There are a lot of issues that we have with Bragg in particular. "
The funds will go towards major structural issues needing repair, updates to restrooms and concessions, lights, and stadium gates to name a few.
Things Mr. FAMU, Kimani Jackson, and former school Mascot Venom says the historic Bragg is in need of.
"I got up close and personal serving as the University mascot for three years so I definitely think it's due for a renovation," said Jackson. "I am excited to see the talent that the new Bragg memorial stadium produces."
The money to fund this project will come from the Florida State University Convention Center allocation, reducing its $40 million estimated budget to $30 million.
County commissioner Nick Maddox and City commissioner Diane Williams-Cox, a FAMU alumna, both passionately championed the proposal, which is expected to inject as much as $26 million into the local economy.
"I'm willing to make what sacrifices that needed to be made in order for this to happen for this University," Maddox said. "Understanding that they're in dire need... they need these stadium renovations or they will not be able to play next season."
Some say Bragg is more than just a football field.
"It is truly a community asset and anchor to the southside community," said Gosha. "Even right now during the current global pandemic that we're facing we've tested almost 40,000 in Bragg Memorial Stadium so we're proud of that and we're definitely proud of the decision that was made tonight."
A typical FAMU football season brings in over $3 million and employs 94 people. Those numbers are expected to increase when FAMU moves into the SWAC next year.
“This vote was very important to the City of Tallahassee and to FAMU,” Williams-Cox said. “The economic impact that this project will bring to our community speaks volumes to how important FAMU is in helping the city move our priorities forward for all our residents.”
To have Bragg up and ready by next year, Gosha says they have to get to work quickly. There are things the University has to discuss with their stakeholder but they are ready to get renovations started.
With the board's approval, public hearings on the renovations commence on Nov. 19 and Dec. 10.