Weston: Hughes stadium is being demolished, should be repurposed

Tyler Weston

Video by Marlo Lundak

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board

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Hughes stadium will be demolished, it is up to us to influence what comes next.

Last week the Colorado State University Board of Governors voted unanimously to deconstruct or ‘tear down’ Hughes Stadium. With the stadium being unused for less than a year, many people are distressed at seeing it removed. All sentimentality aside, the old stadium needs to be removed, and repurposed.

While some had hoped to see the stadium re-purposed as a concert venue, the reality of the situation reveals any thoughts of keeping the stadium for another use as wishful thinking. The problems with preserving the stadium are the same as those that led to the building of a new one. The removal of the stadium leaves CSU with two primary options for how to proceed with the land development, housing or green space. 

The list of repairs needed at Hughes, created by CSU in 2014 is extensive and would cost an exorbitant sum to carry out. The list includes replacing the field, seats, roofs over many closed portions of the complex and even replacing the berm at the north end of the field.

The reality of extensive and costly repairs can be considered a death warrant for a building such as Hughes that now stands unused on land that may hold a higher value without it. As CSU looks forward to the process of taking bids from developers in the spring, getting the process of deconstruction underway is intended to make the property more appealing to potential suitors. 

The property is going to be developed, the only things left unanswered are what it will become and who will undertake the developing process. CSU has been talking about building houses on the lot for some time now, but some Fort Collins residents are less than convinced of the supposed noble intentions behind the idea. Though criticism from the community hasn’t stopped CSU from carrying out their plans in the past, specifically in regards to replacing Hughes in the first place.

The process of development is not one that will be easy or without discourse. Plans are already underway to annex the land into Fort Collins city limits, a move that along with the deconstruction is meant to make way for whatever development is decided for the property. This could be fairly easily considered a sign of the universities intentions to move forward with plans to develop low cost housing for employees on the lot, although community outreach efforts are still ongoing.

While this latest development may seem to rule out the possibility of the land playing host to a new music venue, the pristine location has not been relegated to low cost housing, at least not yet. Efforts are still underway to gauge the desires of the community before a final decision is made, although much is likely to be left up to the bidding processors and what developers are willing to spend on the land. The next and final open house on the subject will be hosted from 6-8 p.m., Oct. 18 at the Drake Centre, 802 W. Drake Road.

While CSU is in no way obligated to adhere to the wishes of the local community, it is encouraging that they are soliciting our input and having real discussions about how to best use the land to benefit Fort Collins. This is an important opportunity for those of us who wish to influence our communities future to have their voice heard and opinion considered. As a major part of Fort Collins, it is important for us as students to leave positive and lasting influences on the community with whatever influence is available to us and I encourage everyone who is able to attend and have your voice heard.

The land Hughes once sat upon should be developed as low income housing or green space. If you feel like I do, that the empty lot should be developed as a public natural space, this is an invaluable opportunity to have an impact on this decision. Development is the next step and it is up to us to influence which direction it will be taken.

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Columnist Tyler Weston can be reached at letters@collegian.com.