What's Next For Colorado State's On-Campus Stadium Decision
It’s decision time. After years of debate over whether to build an on-campus stadium, Colorado State University President Tony Frank is expected to issue a final verdict on whether to spend millions on the project.
How did we get here?
Frank was scheduled to make his decision in October, but asked for a two-month extension to study four options [.pdf] — those include keeping the old Hughes stadium as is with basic upkeep; paying to modernize Hughes stadium; building a new on-campus stadium in phases; rebidding the stadium as a public-private partnership.
The key factor for which path CSU chooses boils down to money. Fundraising from private donors for the new on-campus stadium has been weak compared to original goals. According to October 2014 data, just $50 million of the $110 million needed to build an on-campus stadium has been raised.
Since October, four groups (Campus Leadership, Community Leadership, Department of Athletics, and Department of Facilities) have issued recommendations, all of which support building a new on-campus stadium.
None of the groups recommended renovating the off-campus Hughes Stadium, which is in need of $36-$42 million in repairs, according to university estimates.
Public opinion has been sampled and re-sampled to death on this project. According to the most recent sampling, students, staff, alumni and community members favor building a new on-campus stadium over Hughes 64 percent to 32 percent [.pdf], with 4 percent indicating an “other” choice.
But a group opposed to the new stadium, Save Our Stadium Hughes, found that 60 percent of Fort Collins residents moderately or strongly disapprove of a new stadium [.pdf].
What happens next?
- According to the Coloradoan, Fort Collins city officials are expected to weigh the potential impacts of a new on-campus stadium in a report to be released the week of Nov. 24-28.
- City Council members will use the report to write an intergovernmental agreement between Fort Collins and CSU on what steps could be taken to mitigate stadium effects on traffic, light, exc. The issue is slated for a Dec. 2 meeting.
- Tony Frank is expected to issue a final decision in advance of CSU’s Board of Governors meeting Dec. 4-5. Frank has hinted that it will bring the topic to a final conclusion. In October, Frank indicated that “all general fund options being equal” he was leaning toward the idea of building an on-campus stadium, he concluded his remarks to the CSU Board of Governors by saying:
All general fund options being equal, I believe having a multi-use facility on our main campus still makes the most sense for this university. But I think it is important that we take a look at all these options, come back to you with our best and final recommendation. And for us to put this issue behind us as an institution.