Feb 282012
Authors: Andrew Carrera

After a series of committee meetings and public forums, the next step in making an informed decision about the construction of an on-campus stadium at CSU may come with a hefty price tag.

In emails forwarded to the Collegian, it was revealed that university officials are prepared to spend $200,000 to $300,000 to bring in consultants who would help determine if an on-campus stadium is feasible.

The experts will draw up schematics, conduct impact studies and work out the details of the facility’s utilities and perform additional work — all to assist the university’s Stadium Advisory Committee in deciding whether it’s a good idea to replace Hughes Stadium with one that’s closer to students.

“ … to not have this information makes it almost impossible, I think, for the committee or me to arrive at a thoughtful decision,” said CSU President Tony Frank in an email chain provided by Carl Patton, a professor in CSU’s Department of Physics, who quizzed Frank on his on-campus stadium proposal in a back-and-forth correspondence.

Stu MacMillan, a Stadium Advisory Committee member, agreed, saying that hiring outside consultants is a basic step in the planning phase of any sizable construction project, including the on-campus stadium proposal.

“Without knowing more, it’s hard to make any kind of decision about location, or impact, or anything,” he said. “ … I come from the private sector, where I’ve been in development all my life … It makes sense in the world that I’ve come from, so it would make sense for this project.”

But Frank admitted in his discussion with Patton that the consulting fees could be a bit more than his $200,000 to $300,000 ballpark estimate, especially “for a project of this scope.”

And he may not be off base.

Dave Plapi, a sports information director at the University of Colorado–Boulder, said the consulting fees for the planning phase of a simple expansion of CU’s football stadium, Folsom Field, cost $120,000.

The project added 1,900 club seats, 41 suites and cost $42 million in total. CSU’s on-campus stadium proposal calls for a facility with 40,000 to 50,000 seats and may cost around $100 million to $200 million.

The ultimate cost of CSU’s project-planning stage will be determined after consultancy agencies are selected, which is slated to be by the end of this month.

“You select the company based on their quality and then you negotiate the cost afterwards,” said CSU Spokesperson Kyle Henley.

Henley stressed that the project — including its preliminary period — wouldn’t be paid for with state funds, including tuition dollars.

Frank echoed this in his email exchange, saying that a series of donors have pledged money for the planning phase of the on-campus stadium, regardless of whether or not it actually moves forward.

“By allowing this to go ahead, I realize I create the potential for people to say, ‘There’s just no way anyone would donate (or spend) that sort of money without knowing this is going ahead.’ Because that’s not true and it hurts the open dialogue, I’d rather not create that opportunity and that argues for me not to have gone ahead with this,” he said.

“On the other hand, to not have this information makes it almost impossible, I think, for the committee or me to arrive at a thoughtful decision. In the end, I opted to go ahead knowing I’m opening up for criticism but thinking data were more important to a good conclusion.”

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

What: University officials are preparing to bring in consultants to determine the feasibility of an on-campus stadium
How much it will cost: Up to $200,000 or $300,000
Where the funds will come from: Donors, not state funds or tuition dollars

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