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FIU breaks ground on new stadium


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FIU Breaks Ground On New Stadium

Courtesy: FIUSports.com


MIAMI (www.fiusports.com) ? Florida International University and Coral Gables-based Odebrecht Construction, Inc. broke ground on the school?s new on-site football stadium Friday morning in a ceremony at the Golden Panthers? old home, FIU Stadium.


?It?s a great day to be a Golden Panther,? FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia said. ?This is an exciting day, and there will be only one day more exciting than this?when we kick off the some season playing the University of South Florida in September of 2008 in our brand new stadium.?


Nearly 200 invited guests listened to comments from a platform party consisting of Garcia, FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, FIU Trustee and Administrative and Athletic Committee Chairman Al Dotson Sr., head football coach Mario Cristobal and Odebrecht Construction CEO Gilberto Nieves, before the group grabbed blue and gold shovels and adorned hard hats for the ceremonial ground breaking.


In addition to being a monumental day in FIU athletics history, the ceremony was also a hallmark in the overall growth of FIU.


?Today FIU has engineering, architecture, law, medicine and a Division I football program,? said Maidique. ?We are a research university, and yes, we are building a football stadium.?


When the stadium is completed, it will be the only Division I on-campus football stadium south of Orlando in Florida and will be a ?focal point, a destination for all,? Maidique said.


The first phase of construction, which begins next week with the dismantling of the south stands, will bring the stadium?s capacity to approximately 18,000 and will feature 1,400 club seats, a 6,500 square-foot Panther Club, an upper concourse and 19 suites. Seating will include chairback seats and bench seating, all with backrests for fan convenience.


Additional phases of construction will include a student support complex and will bring the stadium?s seating capacity to approximately 45,000.


?I am excited about what this stadium project means to the future of our football program and the entire FIU community,? Dotson said. ?We have more than 110,000 alumni and 38,000 students. We can fill this stadium without blinking an eye.?


Fans will have to wait to fill the stadium until the 2008 home opener. But the impact is already being felt on the football program.


?FIU is committed to being a big-time program,? Cristobal said. ?We are based on accountability, trust and on belief. Every single brick that goes into this stadium will have that motto in it...It?s not going to be long before it?s a packed house, like Trustee Dotson said.


?This is our place, our home. Let?s build this thing. Let?s go.?


Odebrecht, which has been operating in Florida for 16 years, is responsible for building two of Miami?s most important architectural icons ? the American Airlines Arena and Carnival Center for the Performing Arts ? as well as the expansion of Miami International Airport?s North and South Terminals.


?On behalf of Odebrecht and the design team, I would like to thank (FIU) for giving us and opportunity to do this job.? Nieves said. ?We are very excited. Our staff is extremely excited.?





This thing is going to be sweet.

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It's definitely an interesting time at FIU, can't wait for the stadium to open. It's going to suck playing at the OB this season but it's a necessity to build the new stadium.

If they're getting that, I don't mind making the trip down to the OB. I'll probably go to 2-3 games.

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