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On-campus stadium moves forward

Video by Lena Howland, CTV News Reporter.

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The Board of Governors meeting last week left CSU divided in the debate over a new stadium.

At Friday’s meeting, President Tony Frank presented a 19.5 million decrease in the stadium budget, discussed an addition of 30,000 feet of academic space and indicated a possibility of almost 300 philanthropic donors.

“It is in the university’s best interests to move forward with this,” Frank said.

Several board members spoke of their appreciation for both the idea for the stadium and for Frank’s continued dedication to the project.

“It feels good knowing that every stone is being turned over,” said board member Dorothy Horrell. “It would be difficult to move forward if we didn’t have a leader we were confident in.”

The board shows overall support for Frank but some still hold reservations, partly due to frustrations with the lack of community involvement and discussions with the City of Fort Collins. The meeting did not have an opportunity for public input, and questions were raised as to how the rest of the community feels toward Frank’s proposal.

“A lot of the people in close proximity (of the stadium) are concerned about the traffic and parking,” said Doug Brobst, member of citizen group Save Our Stadium (SOS) Hughes.

Residents in the Sheely subdivision neighborhood, at Whitcomb and Prospect, also have concerns. Driving through the neighborhood, bright yellow signs that read “Renew Hughes Stadium” can be seen in many yards.

“It’s the wrong mission of the university,” said John Mahan, a Sheely subdivision resident. “I’d like to see (CSU) go back to the true missions of the university: teaching, research and (public) service.”

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When the stadium was first introduced, ASCSU reached out to students to get input from the campus community.

“The general consensus we found was that students weren’t in favor of it,” ASCSU Executive Director of Student Services, Jamie Ragusa said.

Some students felt that as a green university, CSU should be fighting to decrease traffic and pollution within the city limits instead of contributing to it. Some also felt it sends the wrong message for CSU to replace our only on-campus greenhouse with a stadium.

However, not all students feel this way.

“I think its a good idea for campus because it could attract more students. Also, being a sports fan, I like that I can get the game on campus,” said Ricardo Kaempfen, a sophomore health and exercise science major.

While the administration has assured the community that funding will come completely from private donations, some students and community members still worry they will end up paying out of pocket. SOS Hughes is also concerned about the stadium causing a financial drain on the university and city.

Though many in the community have been very vocal with their thoughts on the stadium, the city of Fort Collins has been relatively quiet on the matter.

“It’s not a city issue (yet),” Mayor Karen Weitkunat said. “When it hits the community and starts to impact neighborhoods and traffic we will get involved.”

Citizens might be pleased to know that the CSU Board of Governors is receptive to hearing the public voice. At the meeting on Friday, several board members indicated the wish to involve the community with all further plans.

“It’s time to reach out,” board member Mark Gustafson said.

Collegian City Beat Reporter Caitlin Curley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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