An Alumni’s Perspective

With the recent decision about the on-campus stadium made, many alumni and students alike have their own opinions about what an on-campus stadium will mean for the future of CSU. Sarah Harteker, 33, graduated from CSU in 2001 with a degree in construction management and still lives in Fort Collins today with her husband and three children. She spoke with the Collegian by phone on Saturday to share her thoughts about the on-campus stadium.

What do you think of Hughes?
The stadium is a good stadium, but it’s not in the best location. I didn’t used to go to games very much as a student, because of the location. A DUI didn’t really appeal to us and we tried to have a DD (designated driver), but that never worked out. I’d say I attend the games more now that I am an alumni.

What do you think of the on-campus stadium?
I think it is a great idea. It would increase student and alumni attendance, as well as boost the football program at CSU. The alumni will go wherever the new stadium goes. The only problem would be parking; it is an important issue to consider because there isn’t any room now. The higher attendance rate will only make the problem worse.

Do you foresee parking to be a huge issue? How would we resolve it?
The on-campus stadium would make me want to go to more games, which would increase the issue of parking. It would be easy to arrange Transfort or another bus system to bus people to an off-campus parking lot, similar to the light rail for Broncos games.

What will happen to Hughes stadium?
I heard it was going to be made into a practice stadium, which would be great. It would also be an awesome concert venue because it has a little of that Red Rocks feel, being backed up to the foothills. The outdoorsy feel would make it great for concerts.

Do you think the on-campus stadium would help get alumni to campus?
My husband (also an alumni) and I rarely get to campus. If we attended a football game there, it would be fun to walk around and see what’s going on.

This past month, we went to a volleyball game and noticed all the new improvements to campus when we were driving on Laurel Street. It looks like my old dorm, Parmalee, got quite the face lift. I’m sure it is super nice on the inside.

Do you like the idea of an on-campus stadium?
Yes, I’m definitely a supporter of the on-campus stadium and have been one since the beginning. I used to never go to games and this might change my mind. I think it will boost the football program and help us win some games. We need support for the team and the new stadium will boost attendance, and therefore give them more support.

What do you think of the location?
I think it is a good location, since it will be right off Prospect Road. Maybe that will inspire new construction on Prospect Road, to give that a facelift as well. I like that it would be on the south side of campus, right off the highway exit. Going across town with traffic starting at Drake and Shields discourages us from going to games.

Do you think the on-campus stadium will increase traffic around campus?
I don’t think it will get in the way of anything, including classes. Actually, there wouldn’t be any more student traffic, so it would decrease on game days. It would also lessen traffic across the city and further east of town, because it is a shorter distance to travel to games. I think residents on Drake and Overland would appreciate the decrease in traffic.

How should we pay for the on-campus stadium?
First of all, I don’t think the Apple store and other stores going into the stadium are necessary. I think we should fund the stadium with donor money, not by raising tuition rates for students. Student fees shouldn’t increase to pay for the stadium either. It’s already expensive enough and sadly, tuition rates will continue to rise for students because of the economy. There’s no need to contribute to that any more.

What do you think of the football season so far?
I was excited about the new coach and got really excited after the win against CU. At that game, we looked like a great team, one that I haven’t seen in years. We are moving forward and starting to move in the right direction. Now, all I’m worried about is beating Wyoming because we have a small rivalry in our cul-de-sac.

What was the football team like when you were attending CSU?
We had an amazing team. In fact, they went to a few bowls and had a winning season. Because of that, we bought season tickets, but lost the motivation to go to games once the team started losing. If they were better, we might have made more of an effort.

What’s the final word on the on-campus stadium?
I love the feel of CSU and my family has a lot of ties to the school. In fact, that is why we stayed in Fort Collins after we graduated. My husband and I love CSU and the school makes up the majority of the city. I’m happy to see the school continuing to grow and I think the on-campus stadium will only help that.

All the construction will be annoying, but when isn’t construction annoying?  People will complain about it, but I think the stadium should be done in one to two years. After that, people will be able to enjoy the stadium, like I will.

Student Life Beat Reporter Amanda Zetah can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Joel Maxcy

The decision 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 of stadium. there are factors in that decision that go well beyond that.”

“No, I wouldn’t have been surprised either way. There were strong feelings and arguments coming from both sides of this,” Maxcy said.

CSU President Tony Frank announced his support for the proposed on-campus stadium earlier this afternoon, a decision that Bob Vangermeersch, founder of the advocacy group Save Our Stadium Hughes, says is not the end of the stadium discussion.

“We will continue to fight it. We will make our voices heard in front of the (CSU) Board of Governors,” Vangermeersch said.

Following President Frank’s recommendation, the stadium proposal will now be presented to the CSU Board of Governors.

The proposed stadium will have a total of 50,000 seats, with 42,000 for the general public and 8,000 allocated for priority seating, making its size roughly the same size as the stadium at the University of Kansas.

“They’re not bold — they’re looking for something half baked. The average stadium size (for a top 20 program) is 83,000,” Vangermeersch said. “It’s a lousy investment no matter who pays for, but you can’t get it back.”

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 too 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.”