CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A wealthy University of Miami booster is pushing his plan to build a new stadium near the school’s campus in Coral Gables.
John Ruiz is the CEO of MSP Recovery.
He is a Cuban American who grew up in Miami, went to the University of Miami and has had three kids graduate from UM. He is also a billionaire.
Ruiz says he wants to build the Hurricanes football team a brand new stadium right in Coral Gables.
“I feel that throughout the years, the University which had this swag, has lost it,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz put the idea out on social media, and it quickly went viral.
He has since formed a committee of well-connected South Floridians to flesh out the plan, and their first proposal is to put it on the site where Coral Gables Senior High School currently stands and upgrade the school at the same time.
“It’s very centrally located,” Ruiz said. “It’s not to take away from any of what’s there or the heritage of that, or to take away from the kids, I love kids. I want to help kids.”
Not everyone, however, is convinced it’s a good idea.
In fact, former Mayor of Coral Gables, Raul Valdes-Fauli, says he thinks there’s almost no chance it would work there, or anywhere in the city, and called the idea, “stupid.”
“We don’t want the stadium in the middle of Coral Gables with the traffic it’s going to generate, the noise it’s going to generate, and it would have to go in the middle of a residential area,” Valdez-Fauli said.
There have also been Several Gables High alumni and current families who have expressed concerns.
But Diana Diaz, a Coral Gables High alum, parent, and member of Ruiz’s committee, says their goal is not to cause upheaval, it’s to help improve the school and the surrounding area.
“This is about impacting the school in a positive way and providing an asset for the sports facilities and external activities that don’t currently exist,” Diaz said.
If Ruiz gets his way, the plan here would be to build a stadium for the Hurricanes as a centerpiece to a larger athletics facility for the entire county, and also make Coral Gables High a state-of-the-art school.
Of course, this is still in very early stages, and nothing has even been presented to the city thus far.
Late Monday afternoon, Coral Gables High sent out a statement on the school’s Twitter page.