Construction is about as popular on the campus of Colorado State as a parading buffalo, strutting about singing the CU fight song whilst handing us a tuition increase. It’s messy, noisy and oftentimes inconvenient.
This is especially the case when construction is blatantly unnecessary. Consequently, the decision by the university to pursue an on-campus stadium was, to say the least, galling in the extreme.
I don’t think CSU needs an on-campus stadium, strictly speaking. I don’t like the idea that administration is passing over buildings that do need repair and renovation (i.e. the Eddy and Education buildings) in favor of a stadium.
However, since the university seems hell-bent on raising the necessary funds and plowing on with construction, it’s probably best to pause and take a look at how the on-campus stadium could actually benefit CSU.
For one thing, having the stadium on-campus would do quite a bit to alleviate traffic problems presented by Hughes Stadium. Students who live on campus, or in the area immediately around campus, can walk to an on-campus stadium — a much easier alternative to combatting the maze of traffic between CSU and Hughes.
It’s worth noting that a number of the routes used by both cars and the buses that carry on-campus students to Hughes often pass through residential neighborhoods, something that wouldn’t have to happen as much were a stadium to be built on campus.
The traffic and parking situations in and around CSU would still be problematic, I’m not denying that at all. CSU needs to figure out a way to accommodate those who have to drive into campus to attend games. Building a parking garage or two would certainly do something about that.
The on-campus stadium would also be a good thing for other outdoor sports at CSU. Hughes is primarily used for the football team, with other club teams occasionally playing a game or two there. At most, Hughes will be used eight or nine times in the fall, with the number of attendees dropping every game.
Part of that problem, indeed, lies with the football team. Nobody wants to trek all the way out to Hughes to watch the football team embarrass itself. Well, nobody wants to go out and watch any of their school’s teams embarrass themselves. Building a stadium on-campus isn’t an answer to that problem, at least as far as I can tell. Whatever the reasons for constructing a stadium, I doubt it has anything to do with the football team.
I think it has more to do with the fact that Hughes, as a facility, doesn’t receive as much use as the university would like. They’re already on the record as saying as much; saying to the Coloradoan that, due to poor attendance, it doesn’t make sense to repair and upgrade Hughes.
Would the on-campus stadium receive more traffic than Hughes? I think it would. For one thing, it’s a lot more convenient for games to be held at a venue that is within walking distance, as opposed to a drive halfway across the city.
For another, a stadium on campus would allow other sports to make use of the venue. The women’s soccer team, for example, carries with it an exemplary record and Division I status. They have the potential to draw in large crowds, which would certainly be a good use of the stadium. Arguably, the lacrosse teams would also be able to do this, given their national championship titles and as-yet undefeated record.
The use of a building ultimately decides if its construction was worth it, and whether or not a building is used depends on who actually goes to it. Administration is clearly banking on the student body, and by proxy the surrounding Fort Collins community, being willing to attend games held at the new stadium.
And that really does make or break the cost of constructing a stadium. Are we as a community willing to make the trek out to support CSU Athletics? S.O.S. Hughes can bleat all it wants about Hughes being a perfectly good stadium, but that doesn’t change the fact that it only has one or two blowout games, followed by months of being just a big, under-utilized space.
I think that has to do with the hassle of trying to get out there to use it in the first place. And trimming hassle for attending sporting events is always a good thing even if it appears, on the surface, to be a huge waste of time and money.
Editorial Editor Caleb Hendrich is a senior journalism and political science double major. He can be followed on Twitter (@CalebHendrich). Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org