The University of South Florida has dropped its original plan for a new stadium with Barton Malow as a design-build team leader, but said it is keeping Populous Architects as principal designer and will now seek a construction manager.

The university currently expects to begin playing football games in the stadium in 2027.

Southfield, Mich.-based Barton Malow had been the leader of the design-build contracting team with Populous as its subcontractor, with project completion expected in 2026.

"Nothing has changed regarding the cost or the university’s commitment to the project," USF stated.

Barton Malow said in a statement that the new year-later schedule for opening meant that design-build no longer was the optimal delivery model. With "significant global supply chain issues, the university realized the 2026 timeline was no longer feasible," the company stated.

In a statement, USF's board said it believes the construction management approach "will give the university more direct access to all design elements ... and more control over cost efficiencies to receive the best value within the project’s budget." The new timeline "factors in current global supply chain issues and provides the flexibility to have a few months prior to the facility opening to ensure stadium food service, ticketing and security are ready."

The university had announced the selection of Barton Malow and Populous for the project in September 2022, saying the institution plans to build on a portion of its Tampa campus dubbed Sycamore Fields.

Barton Mallow has worked with Populous on dozens of college and sports projects.

A 2017 feasibility study—prior to the pandemic-related surge of construction inflationhad envisioned the stadium as having 40,000 seats and a cost of about $247 million if construction were to start in 2022. But the full scope and project details had not been worked out at that time.

The university described the procurement that selected Barton Malow as an invitation to negotiate.

The change in project delivery method was made a few days prior to the school's release of updated design renderings and schedule.

In the university's original solicitation for a design-build team, only three responses were received "after engaging over 50 firms/teams for participation" according to a university certification posted Nov. 28 on the social media website X, formerly known as Twitter. The certification is used by the university for single-source contract awards.

"Significant design effort has been completed," stated the certification, which was signed by a USF finance and procurement official. "The design-build contract has been terminated with the intent to publicly source a replacement construction management firm," according to the certification.

But the university's best interest is to "maintain the Populous relationship" for timing and continuity, the certification added.