CSU remains silent about on-campus stadium fundraising

As of now, CSU students and the Fort Collins community are in the dark about how much money has been raised in the fundraising effort for the $246 million on-campus stadium.

Amy Parsons, Vice President for University Operations, discusses possible sites for the on-campus stadium at the Stadium Advisory Committee at the Hilton Thursday in March of 2012. Funding of half of the stadium, around $125 million, will be the order of Athletic Director Jack Graham and his team to receive from private donors.
Amy Parsons, Vice President for University Operations, discusses possible sites for the on-campus stadium at the Stadium Advisory Committee at the Hilton Thursday in March of 2012. Funding of half of the stadium, around $125 million, will be the order of Athletic Director Jack Graham and his team to receive from private donors.

According to Ann Kaplan, survey director at the Council for Aid to Education, a “silent phase” is the norm in big fundraising campaigns. Administrators work behind the scenes, collecting money from large donors before asking for the public for additional donations. This process usually lasts about one to two years, Kaplan said.

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“There’s always a period in which the university is talking to supporters before they announce [anything],” Kaplan said. “When they do they will already have a large amount of the gifts donated to get the fundraising campaign running.”

According to CSU’s Executive Director of Public Relations, Mike Hooker, the CSU Board of Governors established October 2014 as the designated time they wish to receive a report from President Tony Frank about where the fundraising effort stands.

“That is really the significant date that we are aiming towards,” Mike Hooker said in an email to the Collegian. “We will announce updates as we reach milestones, but there is not a timeline set for those announcements.”

October 2012 Tony Frank announced his decision that the university would begin exploring the possibility of building an on-campus stadium and he said he envisions the facility doing more than hosting football games.

“A well-maintained stadium located on the main campus, now with decades of tradition behind it, would be a great benefit to the university, providing a familiar venue for athletics, graduations, freshman convocations, band days, and other large events. And so, with that long view in mind, I support our moving forward to attempt to build such a facility,” Tony Frank wrote in an email to CSU students.

When the decision was made last October to begin the fundraising process, it was made clear to the public that the funding for the stadium will come exclusively from private donors – no money from tuition, student fees, taxes or state funding will go into the project.

According to CSU’s website, several donors have already expressed interest in supporting the project.

Other universities have had similar fundraising campaigns for on-campus stadiums, including Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Baylor’s stadium is currently under construction and officials plan to have the stadium complete for the fall of 2014.

According to Baylor’s Executive Associate Athletic Director, Nick Joos, all but 10 percent of the $250 million fundraising initiative was paid for by donations. Bonds and a city contribution from a tax increment fund paid for 10 percent of the project.

While Baylor could not disclose specifics of their fundraising information, the McLane family provided the largest capital gift in university history to fund the stadium project.

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According to Hooker, the fate of CSU’s on-campus stadium lies in how much money can be raised from private donations.

“When President Frank gave the green light to start fundraising efforts he also said that in two years we need to know that there is financial support to move forward with construction, otherwise the university will need to suspend the campaign and start making some of the necessary investments and updates at Hughes,” Hooker said.