President Tony Frank made his announcement in favor of the proposed on-campus stadium Monday, but that doesn’t mean that the advocacy group Save Our Stadium Hughes will stop pushing against its construction.
“We will continue to fight it. We will make our voices heard in front of the (CSU) Board of Governors,” said Bob Vangermeersch, founder of SOS Hughes.
Following President Frank’s recommendation, the stadium proposal will now be presented to the BOG, which Tyler Shannon, co-founder for the pro-stadium group Be Bold CSU, believes will listen to Frank’s recommendation.
“We expect them to listen to Frank; we think he was very reasonable in his expectation of fundraising,” Tyler said. “Our only goal now is to support the university.”
Tyler said that he and other supporters are looking forward to helping the university meet its fundraising goal of $125 million before ground can be broken on the new stadium (as outlined in Frank’s announcement).
“All the supporters I’ve spoken with have been waiting for the go-ahead so they can donate what they can, when they can,” Shannon said. “Once we find out from the university how they are going to collect funds, I’m going to go to those people and tell them how they can donate.”
The proposed stadium will have a total of roughly 42,000 seats, with 8,000 allocated for priority seating, making it roughly the same size as the stadium at Princeton University.
“They’re not bold — they’re looking for something half-baked. The average stadium size (for a top-20 football program) is 83,000,” Vangermeersch said. “It’s a lousy investment no matter who pays for it, but you can’t get it back.”
Up to five SOS Hughes members are currently assembling an argument focusing on the economics of the proposed stadium to be presented to the BOG, Vangermeersch said.
Joel Maxcy, a sports economist and associate professor of economics at Temple University, was brought to Fort Collins by SOS Hughes on Sept. 24 to present his feasibility report for the proposed stadium. In his report, which can be viewed on the SOS Hughes website, Maxcy claims that projected revenues for the stadium are unrealistically high.
The decision to go ahead with the stadium takes into account various factors other than financing and revenue, such as boosting recruitment for the CSU football team, Maxcy said, and those benefits are very difficult to predict.
“My role in coming to campus was to evaluate financial projections for the stadium. There are factors in that decision that go well beyond that.”
Maxcy was not surprised by President Frank’s decision to support the stadium, saying, “There were strong feelings and arguments coming from both sides of this.”
According to Shannon, SOS Hughes has helped to keep the stadium process transparent, but now that Frank’s announcement has been made, he expects the organization to eventually support the stadium’s construction.
“It’s time to realize this is going to happen and support CSU — it’s time to move forward,” Shannon said.
For Vangermeersch, though, the stadium debate doesn’t end with Tony Frank or even the CSU Board of Governors.
“I suspect somehow, somewhere, someone is going to start a citizen’s initiative — sign a petition to put on the ballot for April whether the city can spend any money to support the stadium,” Vangermeersch said.
He did not say that a member of SOS Hughes would be responsible for such an initiative, stating that a petition is nothing more than a possibility at this point.
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