In a recent interview, Dr. Tony Frank discussed the “State of the University”. Among the issues discussed by Dr. Frank were the school budget and the proposed on-campus stadium. To those points I felt there were several facts which needed to be clarified.
We’re running out of money!
Firstly, we are not running out of money. In his interview, Dr. Frank made the statement that there is a “growing trend” that our state funding is “being squeezed down to zero.” But there is no factual basis to support this. Granted, our state funding was reduced after 2008, but it also has dramatically increased in the last two years. In fact, according to the office of state Rep. Randy Fischer, this year we’ve received an 11 percent increase to our state funding (over $121 million), which puts us back at pre-recession levels.
We need a new stadium.
The issue of funding, however, is only brought up by Dr. Frank to create a necessity for a revenue booster, which is what he believes this proposed campus stadium to be. Since 2012, Dr. Frank and the administration have been fundraising for an on-campus stadium under the agreement that if he is unable to raise half the stadiums cost, he will scrap the entire project. With only two months left until the deadline, the proposed stadium is more than 2/3 ($27 million out of $110 million) short of its goal. However, in spite of this, there still has been talk about seeking a delay in the deadline so the administration can try to raise more funds.
This raises the question: since building a new stadium appears to be so costly and complex, why not just renovate the one we have? According to Dr. Frank, this would be too costly to students to perform the necessary repairs to Hughes stadium ($30 million). However those “necessary repairs” go a lot farther than just fixing the concrete, sewage and electrical. In fact, of the $30 million proposed, only 30 percent, or $8.6 million, would actually go to the aforementioned repairs. Meanwhile the majority of the costs (51 percent, or $14.9 million) would go towards things like landscaping, renovating the suites, a new sound system and a new scoreboard. Furthermore that $30 million would be paid over a period of eight years, as opposed to the two years in which we have tried to raise funding for this proposed stadium.
The facts concerning this stadium are no doubt complex, but that’s why it’s even more important that we all be clear and up front when discussing this matter, regardless of whether we are for or against it.
If you are interested in learning more about this proposed stadium, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Guest Column submitted to the Collegian by William Clem.