Stadium construction will close and relocate organizations on campus

Due to construction for the new stadium on the southwest corner of campus, the CSU Student Sustainable Farm and the Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) will be relocated, and the CSU Challenge Course will be closed permanently.

Trial plots on 630 W. Lake St. can be seen where the new on-campus stadium construction is set to begin summer of 2015.
Trial plots on 630 W. Lake St. are currently located where the new on-campus stadium construction is set to begin summer of 2015.

The new stadium will be located west of Meridian Avenue on West Lake Street and Pitkin Street, where many of Colorado State University’s agricultural organizations are.

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The CSU Farm is going into its 18th growing season this year, according to Bryce Schaetzel, co-manager of the CSU Farm and senior crop sciences major. They sell produce from their harvest at a stand on West Lake Street during the growing season of March through October.

“The nice thing about having it on Lake Street is that a lot of people would stop by and buy veggies, then they have the opportunity to walk down to the garden and see the plots,” Schaetzel said. “If we locate somewhere more central on campus, it is not the same opportunity.”

There is 5 percent organic matter in the soil at the CSU Farm’s current location, said Shauna Leibold, a junior soil and crop science major and co-manager of the CSU Farm. She said the new location will have less than 1 percent organic matter, but they are not sure of the effect it will have on their harvest.

“These schools were created to help students with agricultural based problems of the time to really focus on agriculture,” Schaetzel said. “The stadium will literally erase any sign of agriculture off this University permanently.”

PERC has been in operation for 42 years, according to James Klett, a landscape horticulture professor involved in the research. He was notified of the move in December 2014 after the Board of Governors approved stadium plans.

“We worked with facilities in developing a plan during 2013, at least for the greenhouse and area directly south of the greenhouses,” Klett wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We will have new greenhouse facilities, which are desperately needed to replace our old greenhouses and office building and labs, that last had a major renovation in 1979-80.”

Sam Hagopian, a graduate student at CSU, is the supervising coordinator of the CSU Annual Flower Trial Gardenwhich is a part of PERC. His research plots are located on West Lake Street, and will be terminated by Oct. 1.

“As long as the University does not begin construction (on) my research plots until Oct. 1, there will be little effect to my research,” Hagopian wrote in an email to the Collegian. “My study will conclude at the end of September, and moving locations will be the small inconvenience of physically moving.”

PERC will be relocating south of campus to the grounds where the CSU Challenge Course currently resides. The outdoor ropes course facility on Centre Avenue will be dismantled on Feb. 14 to make way for the relocation of PERC’s greenhouses and research plots, according to Colleen McAnallen, lead facilitator of the Challenge Course.

“I didn’t think the stadium would happen that fast, or at all,” McAnallen said. “Ultimately, I understand the need to rebuild the stadium, but I don’t understand why it needs to be on campus.”

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The Challenge Course is part of the Department of Recreation and it is used by CSU students and non-CSU participants. McAnallen said the Challenge Course brings visitors to Fort Collins who would not have any other connection to CSU.

The Challenge Course is built on a floodplain. Employees were able to work around soil issues in the summer due to the nature of the facility, but McAnnallen said anything built there will need accommodations when it starts to flood.

Despite how the construction will affect campus organizations, the experience of an on-campus football stadium is appealing, according to Tyler Shannon, a CSU Alum and member of Be BoldBe Bold is a group in support of the new stadium, and works to excite the community about it.

“National exposure of athletics and football is huge marketing for the University,” Shannon said. “These things bridge the gap for higher education in the long term. Having a facility that will help CSU create that engagement is extremely important.”

In addition to the relocation and dissipation of some organizations, the City of Fort Collins will be experiencing changes in traffic patterns and neighborhood activity. The Fort Collins City Council will be meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at 300 Laporte Ave., and will be open to the public.

“No one ever really went out and asked the community their opinions or tried to address the issues in a clear manner,” Leibold said.

Collegian reporter Zara DeGroot and Assistant News Editor Christina Vessa can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @zar_degroot and @Chrissyvessa.