Colorado State president recommends new on-campus stadium to replace existing football arena



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FORT COLLINS, Colorado — Colorado State University's president recommended Saturday that the school build a new sports stadium on campus instead of renovating the existing football arena.

University President Tony Frank said he will ask the school's Board of Governors to approve the project. Frank will make a formal recommendation to the board at a meeting Friday.

In a memo to the board posted on the school's website, Frank said a new stadium could cost from $195 million $220 million, depending on seating capacity. Earlier estimates have ranged from $180 million to $225 million.

It would cost at least $30 million to maintain the existing Hughes Stadium, which is about three miles west of the main campus, Frank said. The university has said it could cost at least $149 million to renovate it to last 30 to 40 years.

Trying to maintain Hughes was not in the school's best interest because of the cost, Frank said. Major renovations to Hughes were not viable, citing the cost, a lack of donor support and other factors, he said.

Opponents have said building an on-campus stadium would hurt local businesses and residential neighborhoods.

"When we look at it every which way, we think it's a loser, both economically and ecologically," said Bob Vangermeersch, a spokesman for Save Our Stadium Hughes.

Revenue projections for a new stadium don't add up, Vangermeersch said Saturday. Construction work and materials would cause significant pollution, he said.

A representative of his group will speak to the Board of Governors during the public comment period of next week's meeting, Vangermeersch said.

His group might ask Fort Collins voters to reject spending any city tax money to help accommodate a new stadium, he said. The group would consider a lawsuit as a last resort, Vangermeersch said.

Frank said the university could build a 35,872-seat stadium for $195 million, financed with donations and bonds that would be repaid with stadium revenue. It would include luxury seating and video screens and could be expanded.

Building a 41,200-seat stadium would cost an estimated $225 million. The university has investigated a public-private partnership to finance the more expensive version, but no viable plans have emerged, Frank said.


Online:

President's memo: http://www.colostate.edu/stadium/20141129/board-memo.pdf

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