There’s been a whirlwind of change in Fort Collins over the last month.
A change of Athletic Director from Paul Kowalczyk to Jack Graham brought a change at head football coach from Steve Fairchild to Jim McElwain.
And Graham brought his monumental vision of a glimmering, new on-campus stadium at Colorado State.
The topic has since become divisive.
While football fans were astounded and in amazement of the possibility of an on-campus stadium, others in the Fort Collins community stand against its construction.
Bob Vangermeersch, who has organized a group of Fort Collins folks against the new stadium, told Denver’s 9 News, “It’s moving too fast and without any input and without any planning.
“They’ve spent millions of dollars over the last couple of years renovating it (Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium), and now it’s going to be abandoned – that makes absolutely no financial sense at all.”
Others have argued the $100-200 million that the stadium will cost should be spent on academic facilities and professor’s salaries, not on athletics.
Those in support of the new on-campus stadium are looking at the bigger picture.
The massive amount of money will come from privately funded sources, it will act as a recruiting tool and as the shining star of CSU’s ever-evolving and expanding campus.
One man in favor of the new on-campus stadium is student Edward Umada.
In the midst of this on-going on-campus stadium debate, Umada decided to make his opinion known, and he started an online petition in support of the new stadium.
“I originally started the petition to raise awareness among my friends and people that supported CSU, alumni, through facebook,” explained the 21-year old senior psychology major. “And someone suggested maybe I should try to help it grow and post it on Ramnation.com or ramificationsCSU.com and let other Ram fans, students and alumni and people that just support Fort Collins in general all around the country [voice their opinions].
“And it grew into a bigger thing from there.”
The petition currently has 722 signatures from people who live in Fort Collins, alumni from across the country and even rival CU Buffs fans that say they’d like to see CSU take a step into the big leagues.
Umada calls the success of the petition, which received it’s first signatures only four days ago, an “overnight sensation” and he is amazed at how many people have caught on.
Umada, who plays in the marching band and has visited many other college football stadiums, says games at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium lacks a certain indescribable feel and he explained he also started the petition in order to raise awareness among his fellow students.
“A lot of people I’ve talked to on campus aren’t aware of what’s going on and why it’s happening,” he said.
“Also, I think it’s important to have an on-campus stadium to build, not only a stronger community within CSU but also a Fort Collins community.”
When asked what the goal of starting this petition was, Umada elaborated. “I think the end game would be to say, all these other supporters, whether they’re students, alumni, live here in Fort Collins or even across the country, I just want people to realize that this is a lot bigger than just people that are here but this will affect everyone that supports CSU. Not just academically, but athletics [too].
“I want everyone to come together and realize that we’re not all separate, we’re all here to support the institution of CSU.”
And the senior at Colorado State emphasized that while students all realize they come to CSU for a top-notch education—something Umada is certainly proud of—a nationally competitive athletics department will draw more attention to the school and will bring in more national and international students to our campus.
While Umada’s petition gains steam and supporters, the debate rages on between those for and against the proposed on-campus stadium.
Everything looks to be building towards a head as the University-appointed 15-person committee assembled to weigh the pros and cons of the massive building project is set to hold a public meeting Friday February 3 at 7:30 p.m. MST at Lory Student Center in the middle of Colorado State’s campus.
It’s likely that those on both sides of the debate will be in attendance and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Umada will be there, and he hopes his petition will have over 1,000 votes by that time, and he may even take it directly to Jack Graham himself to show the support for the stadium.
If you wish to vote on the petition and show your support for the proposed on-campus stadium, click here and fill out the needed information.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman is also the Denver Broncos Examiner and writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report, and Mile High Hoops.
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