Apr 012012
 
Authors: Allison Sylte

According to survey results from the Stadium Advisory Committee, there’s a significant divide between the CSU and Fort Collins communities when it comes to the proposed on-campus stadium.

And while many CSU donors and alumni have wholly positive sentiments about the project, community members and faculty –– specifically those who live close to campus –– have an entirely negative perception about the impact of the stadium on the community.

“Both sides assume they’re the majority, and the opposition is the loud minority,” said Martin Carcasson, the director of the Center for Public Deliberation, during Thursday night’s committee meeting.

The audience at the meeting was almost entirely comprised of Fort Collins community members, many of whom were sporting “Save Our Stadium: Hughes” buttons in opposition to the project.

Harry Goldman, a Fort Collins resident whose daughter attended CSU for graduate school, was one such audience member.

“Do I love athletics? Absolutely,” Goldman said. “But do I think that CSU needs to spend $200 million or $400 million for a new stadium when we already have a perfectly good facility at Hughes? No.”

The survey was initially sent to 104,804 email addresses on March 19 to a group that included alumni, faculty and staff, various donors and football season ticket holders.

As of the committee meeting, more than 10,000 responses were received. Those most likely to strongly support the stadium were generally male, lived outside of Fort Collins, were high-dollar donors and had some affiliation with athletics.

Those who most strongly opposed the project were female, lived in Fort Collins (and were specifically faculty and staff or students) and non-donors.

Ninety percent of faculty members are opposed to an on-campus stadium.

A separate student-oriented poll facilitated by the Associated Students of CSU did not garner enough interest for ASCSU President and stadium advisory committee member Eric Berlinberg to report at the meeting.

“I think students feel very spammed when we send them surveys,” Berlinberg said.

When it comes to public input, the theme of the meeting was that the committee needs more information to get a clearer picture of what the overall sentiment about the stadium truly is.

And by the same token, committee members felt the overall community needed to be better educated about the project.

“We really want to take the next step in the survey and drill down the issues and see what people think,” said Tom Milligan, the vice president for External Relations and the facilitator of the alumni, campus and public engagement subcommittee, which distributed the survey.

All of the subcommittees were in the early stages of analyzing the various tenets of the stadium proposal, and each gave 30-minute-long presentations about their progress.

The Jack Graham-facilitated design and best practices subcommittee presented a narrowed down list of elements they wanted the on campus stadium to have, which included a possible microbrewery and rock climbing wall. During the past two months, the subcommittee has ruled out a bowling alley and golf simulator.

The design and best practices subcommittee will be traveling to various stadium sites later this month.

The Vice President of University Operations Amy Parsons-led site selection subcommittee, which has met once since the Feb. 3 committee meeting, has narrowed down a list of three potential sites.

“The real purpose (of the meeting) was to educate the subcommittee about the campus master plan,” Parsons said Thursday, preceding a 30-minute-long presentation about the master plan to the advisory committee and community members.

The three sites, which included an area southeast of campus near the railroad tracks, the intersection of Pitkin and Meridian Streets and directly on top of Ingersoll Hall, are entirely preliminary, and may change once the consulting group hired by the committee makes its recommendations.

“They’re going to come back maybe with some formidable challenges we hadn’t foreseen with these sites,” Parsons said.

The next full committee meeting is slated for April 20 in the Lory Student Center.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Survey Results
-49.6 percent of people surveyed had a strong opinion
-6,306 respondents believed athletics is important to bolstering CSU’s national image
but… 4,507 respondents believed an on-campus stadium would not further CSU’s image
-Respondents from the Denver metro area were the most likely to support the proposal
-34 percent of respondents disagreed that it is appropriate to use private funds to build the stadium

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