The Colorado State University (CSU) campus is nestled in the heart of the city of Fort Collins, CO. Main campus comprises a 1mi x 1mi square of land, surrounded in all directions by local businesses and neighborhoods hosting students and permanent residents of Fort Collins. Recently, President Tony Frank and Athletic Director Jack Graham have put into motion a plan to construct a new stadium, which will reside within the 1mi x 1mi square block that is the main campus. So, what’s the problem? Let me break it down for you.
President Tony Frank and Athletic Director Jack Graham say that CSU needs an on campus stadium to promote support for the CSU football team, and to create game day traditions. However, both of these things already exist. Hughes Stadium is CSU’s current existing football stadium, located approximately 2 miles west of main campus. Hughes was built decades ago and has earned a title no less than epic. Its pristine location is underneath the hills of Lory State Park and Horsetooth Reservoir, where the infamous and tradition filled “A” is painted. Hughes Stadium is full of existing traditions and has always been a memorable time for students, like myself, alumni, and Fort Collins community members.
Just the fact that President Tony Frank and Athletic Director Jack Graham want to build a new stadium is not grounds for petition. It is the proposed location of the new on campus stadium that has me, other students, and community members outraged. As already stated above, CSU’s campus is confined to 1 mi x 1mi block in the middle of the city of Fort Collins. Every year, CSU faces battles concerning space on campus, including parking, traffic, and student housing. We are already feeling the constraints of a closed space, and building an on-campus stadium would only accentuate these stresses. Let me be clear that there is not an open space on campus ready for a stadium to be built; buildings would have to be demolished, streets rerouted, and an important area of our campus destroyed.
The Holley Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) (pictured above) is the major area that would be affected in the construction of an on-campus stadium. PERC is a research center for the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture school (H&LA) located on campus. The area serves as a learning facility for students in the department and is a frequent location for professors to facilitate hands-on learning experiences for numerous classes at CSU from Introduction to Horticulture to Entomology to upper division Pathology. PERC is a historic area for research and is responsible for the expansion and success of the department of H&LA. It is also a resource of Work Study employment for current students as well as being a learning experience in their field of study. And Tony Frank, the president of CSU, has no problem with flat out getting rid this esteemed area.
CSU has been recognized for its role as a green university. The School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) was established as an umbrella school that captures those seeking to acquire a degree or do research in the growing field of sustainability and green initiatives. Choosing to build a brand new stadium over taking the opportunity to renew our existing football stadium does not align with the foundation of the new School of Global Environmental Sustainability at CSU. President Tony Frank’s concern for a new on-campus stadium is overbearing on the rest of CSU’s concern to be a sustainable leader.
150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln created CSU as a Land-grant institution. Under the Morrill Land-grant Act, CSU (along with other Land-grant institutions) has obligations to fulfill, which include fair access to higher education, a high quality of teaching, public engagement, and to be a leader in research. Historically, CSU has been a leader in research areas including, Veterinary Sciences , Forestry, and Agriculture (among others!). Replacing the Plant Environmental Research Center with a football stadium is in discordant with part of the reason CSU was created. It is not a sustainable practice. CSU’s students, faculty, and Fort Collins community members are prepared to fight the new on-campus stadium until the end, but we need your help to gain support and show Tony Frank that we are not alone in opposing his decision. Please help us by signing our petition! Thank you!