By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
His audience at Tuesday’s town hall meeting was minuscule, but that didn’t stop Eastern New Mexico University President Steven Gamble from spreading the message that the school needs help from students to fund a new on campus football stadium.
Gamble covered the financial overview of the project, saying that total cost will be $8 million. Of the projected costs, half will be paid by students over 30 years. The plan is to charge an extra $40 per student per semester, which will equal $4 millions, according to Gamble. Of the remaining $4 million in costs, $1 million will come directly from the University, while the remaining $3 million will be raised by the ENMU Foundation, a non-profit organization that will be fundraising on behalf of the University.
Gamble stressed to a handful of students and media that the stadium will be not only be used for football, but as a multi-purpose facility. He cited track and field practice, marching band practice, health and physical education courses, student intramurals, Portales High School football games, concerts and community events could all be held there.
“We are not allowed to host track meets because we don’t have a regulation track,” said Gamble. “This facility will allow us to now host official meets.”
Students will be able to vote online during Homecoming Week on Oct. 2-4.
Gamble said if students vote down the proposal, no further funding opportunities will be explored and there will be no new stadium plans for the time being. If the stadium is approved and funding is secured in a timely manner, the estimated date of opening will be in the fall of 2016.
According to a preliminary feasibility study provided by Gamble, Greyhound Stadium, which is about 8 miles east of Portales on U.S. 70, is dated, inconvenient for fans to get to and needs $1 million in improvements.
Sara Hill, marketing and events manager for ENMU athletics, was on hand to provide more information as well as answer questions with Gamble.
“We will be having different promotions closer to the vote as well as more town hall meetings,” Hill said.