New CSU Stadium a Great Community Asset
Aside from yesterday’s solar eclipse, the biggest local story has been Colorado State University’s new on-campus stadium. Now with the eclipse come and gone, it’s all about CSU.
This Saturday, the season’s first college football game in America will be here in Fort Collins when the Rams take on the visiting Oregon State Beavers.
The story of the process that led to building the new stadium is well-documented. Venerable but aging Hughes Stadium embodied a half-century of memories. But, it also represented millions of dollars of maintenance and upgrade costs in a facility that was functionally obsolete.
Consequently, when Jack Graham – CSU alum, donor and former quarterback – advocated for a new on-campus stadium, the timing was right. When given the opportunity to serve as athletic director, he pushed the idea forward with vigor.
Then the leadership of CSU President Tony Frank took over. The idea required listening, problem-solving and a practical plan for financing and building the stadium. It also took courage. In the face of the ensuing controversy, the easy thing to do, the risk-adverse thing to do, would be to do nothing. In the same situation, my guess is most university presidents would have gone with status quo and done nothing.
Dr. Frank is not just any university president, however. With a long-term view – an attribute necessary for any Chicago Cubs fan, which he is – he advocated for the stadium as a long-term university and community asset.
It was the right decision by Dr. Frank and the CSU Board.
The impact will be immediate. Alums, visitors, students and the community will be on CSU’s main campus and near downtown and the College Avenue business corridor. Instead of dissipating the energy that comes with NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision by routing it around the community, the new stadium puts it in the center.
Change is hard and this one comes with traffic, parking and noise issues that will all have to be dealt with. Some may never be resolved to everyone’s liking. In the end, the benefits will outweigh the problems.