The distance from Hughes Stadium to the Colorado State University campus is only about 4 miles, but to hear some school officials talk, it's an impassable gulf for alumni and one of the biggest detriments to the university taking its rightful place as a world-class institution.
But the university officials planning the drive to raise $250 million to build an on-campus stadium say they can parlay fundraising for a marquee sports program into donor dollars for academics and research, as other top football schools have done.
"They may go to the football game, but they won't come back over here," said Brett Anderson, the school's vice president for advancement. "If they're already on campus, they're a captive audience. If I can get them here, show them the facilities, they give at a much higher rate than they would otherwise. And this is a venue that will do that for us."
The venue Anderson is referring to is the proposed 42,000-seat, on-campus stadium that CSU president Tony Frank recently recommended be built. The school's Board of Governors voted unanimously to proceed with the project, which would replace the primitive Hughes Stadium west of campus, provided that half the cost is raised through private funding within the next two years.
Since that vote this month, officials have been contemplating exactly what shape the fundraising campaign will take. And while the final plan isn't expected to be finished for another two weeks, Anderson said he's "very confident we can do this."
"We had a lot of naysayers when we embarked on a capital campaign seven years ago," Anderson added. "We set a goal of $500 million, and we hit that early and in arguably the worst economic downturn in our lifetime."
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