The Museum of Science and Industry revealed its plans to relocate to Downtown Tampa as a new and improved science center.
There have been various fiscal issues within the past few years for MOSI, but according to Fox 13 News, a move to Downtown Tampa is expected to increase attendance by 34 percent. The relocation will also give MOSI a larger audience to attract visitors from.
MOSI is located on Fowler Avenue, which has led many to hope USF will place a bid for the spot to create a local football stadium that will benefit the entire campus.
If there is blatant potential for improvement for MOSI by moving to a more heavily populated area, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t explore the idea of relocating. Although there are consistent visitors at the current location, the demand is not enough to maintain its appeal or manage the 75 acres it inhabits.
The relocation is not expected for at least another three to five years, but plans are currently in the works, according to the Tampa Bay Times. It is difficult to plan the construction of a building in the middle of a city, especially one as big as MOSI, but board members are hopeful the move will be the best thing for the museum.
MOSI’s current location is ideal for students and faculty to easily attend home games rather than travel down to Raymond James Stadium, where attendance has struggled. Many students said the reason they had not attended games was due to the distance of the current stadium.
“The distance from here to Raymond James is huge,” Shawn Callahan, a senior majoring in marketing, told The Oracle. “If we had a stadium on campus, that would increase student attendance.”
Some argue there needs to be signs of improvement in USF’s football team and in home game attendance before entertaining the idea of spending money on an on-campus stadium. However, the highest surge in attendance will likely result from the stadium being in closer proximity to campus.
Regardless of the benefits of having an on-campus stadium, Hillsborough County may have other plans for the land that may shut down the stadium plan before it begins to gather support.
There is a peaked interest in transforming the land into an innovation district to attract companies and workers to the area, according to the Times.
Yes, an innovation district can be widely beneficial to the Tampa Bay area, but Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, has a $1 billion redevelopment project under works in Downtown Tampa for a similar project.
Turning the land across the street from USF into a football stadium is the most rational idea at this point. Since this is a college area, having a stadium will increase the quality and appeal of campus. While the innovation district would be profitable to Tampa, it will be more beneficial downtown.
Realistically, the on-campus stadium would not start any type of production until MOSI is projected to move. But regardless of the delayed date, a football stadium would be welcomed as long as the funds to develop it are there and don’t impede on other departments.
With USF having gone to its first bowl game in five years this past season and flipping their record from 4-8 to 8-5, the hype for the football team is growing, and the possibility of an on-campus stadium is just what this university and team needs.
Sarah Pineda is a freshman majoring in mass communications.