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Classroom space is good, but better without the stadium attached

Caleb Hendrich
Caleb Hendrich

The CSU on-campus stadium is moving forward, as per President Tony Frank’s meeting yesterday with CSU’s Board of Governors. Word from the grapevine seems to indicate that the higher-ups in the administration are pretty happy about it, too.

And, to be fair, there is reason to be pleased from their perspective. The original cost of the stadium, through some marvel of financial wizardry, has been reduced from $246 million to $226.5 million — a difference of $19.5 million. Which is good, since any way they can reduce the cost of this project is positive news.

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They are also thinking about putting classroom space into the stadium, which is a fascinating idea that neatly solves the issue of use that I alluded to in a column earlier in the year. To recap, the football team doesn’t play many games, so building a $200 million stadium and demolishing perfectly good parking lots wouldn’t really be worth it. From the sports angle, they could increase the use of the stadium by allowing other (usually more successful) teams to use the field as well.

But classroom space is an interesting thought. Classroom space is a pretty serious issue, and with a growing student population it’s only going to get worse if there isn’t some serious expansion. Although, one would probably think that overcrowded lecture halls and overflowing classrooms would be a far bigger deal than the prospect of a fancy new stadium and with classrooms in it.

President Frank estimates that to deal with growing enrollment the university will need an additional million square feet of space. It’s doubtful that the stadium will make a dent in that, so would it not be easier (and cheaper) to just forgo building the stadium in lieu of building more academic buildings and updating the ones we have?

The alternative plan to building the on-campus stadium (renovating Hughes) is dramatically cheaper, and would free up a lot of money to construct academic facilities. I like the idea of an on-campus stadium, but if the university is thinking that they’ll need a million square feet of new space to accomodate a larger student population, then they should probably focus more on that.

Those $226.5 million dollars would go quite a long way towards building another Behavioral Science Building (which came in at about $31.6 million), for instance. The cost of the stadium would also do wonders for financing the restoration of some of the older buildings on campus, such as Eddy, Gifford, Military Science, Clark and Education buildings.

While the concept art for the stadium looks fantastic, and the fact that they’re moving forward with their plans suggests that they actually met half of their funding goal for the stadium, I think that if they are going to be putting classrooms in the stadium there might be bigger issues at hand.

This is a university, and having space for students to learn should probably be a bigger issue for administration, not an afterthought. A stadium on campus would be cool, but if we need a million square feet to accomodate more students, then the university should address that before tackling the stadium.

Editorial Editor Caleb Hendrich is a senior journalism and political science double major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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