12:20am

Thu May 31, 2012
Education

Proposed CSU Stadium Would Cost $246 Million

The 15-person panel charged with evaluating the feasibility of building a 42,000 seat on-campus stadium met in front of a packed house Wednesday.

The Stadium Advisory Committee is charged with reviewing design, public opinion, sites and marketing/budget analysis, and making a recommendation to CSU President Tony Frank.

Much of the evening was spent reviewing the cost and potential revenue streams around the proposed stadium. Based on a plan with capacity of 42,806 seats, the project would cost $246 million in construction, off-site utilities and street & intersection improvements. According to estimates, revenue sources could raise between $212 million to $490 million for the project. That money would not come from state revenue sources.

The stadium location was narrowed down to site C, near the intersection of West Lake Street and Meridian Avenue in Fort Collins. This southwest corner of campus currently is occupied by parking lots and greenhouses.

Largely absent from the committee's discussion was talk of giving a thumbs up or thumbs down on the project. Wearing a Be Bold t-shirt, Fort Collins resident Jason Van Ort said he found the meeting useful, but came looking for a decision.

“I was hoping for something concrete, something with more finality to it,” he said.

Vice President of External Relations Tom Milligan said the committee’s work will continue into the summer. Information is still being gathered on questions surrounding Hughes Stadium, located west of town.  Public input sessions are also expected to be held for residents in the proposed stadium area on traffic and noise questions. Ultimately, a complete report of the committee’s findings will be presented to CSU President Tony Frank in mid August.

“It’s more important to us to get it right, to get the right information to Tony so he can make a decision,” said Milligan. “That’s been the goal.”

But Save Our Stadium Hughes founder Bob Vangermeersch questions the timing.

“We think they’re trying to let the opposition cool off,” he said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, CSU Center for Public Deliberation’s Martin Carcasson reiterated a point he’s made at previous meetings: discussion on the topic has become polarized. Many in the crowd were wearing yellow Be Bold shirts, which supports the stadium, or green stickers for the group, SOS Hughes, which is against it.

“We don’t know about those in the middle,” said Carcasson. “Too often in our democracy we just hear from the entrenched voices. People who have their minds made up. We need more from the people who are in the process of making their minds up.”

To that end, Carcasson’s Center will create an online input form in the coming weeks that he hopes will gather more public feedback on the key concerns surrounding the stadium. And the public will have at least one forum with CSU President Tony Frank before he makes his decision next fall.