The President weighs in and says the stadium absolutely must be built.
Friday, Aug 8, 2008
"DENTON — Whether a proposed new football stadium at North Texas meets with opposition or financial barriers, university president Gretchen M. Bataille said Saturday the project must move forward no matter how long it takes.
During the Mean Green’s annual football kickoff cookout, Bataille called a new stadium "the one piece that’s missing" in UNT’s construction of new sports facilities since 2005. She reiterated that UNT won’t break ground until $30 million is raised or pledged — half of the projected $60 million cost.
"Until we have half the money in pledges or cash in hand, we’re not going to turn dirt," said Bataille, who wouldn’t say how much had been raised. "Until we know we’ve got that commitment — it could be corporate or private funds or student fees — we can’t in good conscience go out and start digging a hole."
Bataille favors a student referendum on a new per-semester-hour athletic fee to help finance the project. UNT currently has a student services fee that helped pay for a new campus recreation center and natatorium, as well as other women’s athletic facilities. It’s rumored that a vote could occur as early as this fall.
If students pass it, the Board of Regents, and likely the Texas Legislature, would need to approve an athletic fee. Currently, the athletic department budgets out of the student services fee pool, and "that is not the way to run an athletic program," Bataille said.
"We do need a separate athletic fee, stadium or no stadium," she added. "Obviously, we have a good reason now to institute one."
The stadium would sit across I-35E from Fouts Field, on the old UNT golf course. UNT has spent over $1 million on a site survey and architectural design.
"If we’re going to take our rightful place in the Sun Belt Conference, as well as the country as a Division I institution, we simply have to have a new stadium," Bataille said...."