Future of old stadium up in air

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

As Eastern New Mexico University officials further their fundraising efforts for a new multi-use stadium to be built in Portales, the university’s president says there’s no word yet on what would happen to the 45-year-old stadium the school’s athletic programs are currently using.

After the school’s full-time students secured half of the $8 million cost through a successful online election in the beginning of the month, ENMU’s administration became more confident in the project happening because without the student vote, plans for the project would have ceased. The vote means that students will pay half the stadium’s cost through student fees, $40 a semester for full-time students and $3.33 per credit hour for part-time students, for the next 30 years.

The outdated stadium that ENMU plays in at Blackwater Draw, about eight miles from town, may be demolished if the administration finds no use for it, according to ENMU President Steve Gamble.

“We’ll probably spend a little time to see if there’s an alternate use for the stadium. If we can’t find a use for it in a reasonable amount of time, we’ll tear it down,” Gamble said.

The land and the facility are ENMU’s property, but the school would have to get permission from the state government before selling it for private use.

Gamble said ENMU’s football team will continue to use the space until the new stadium is built. He said once ENMU has the entire $8 million in hand, the new stadium should be built within one year.

The board of education for Portales schools has been asked to pay a quarter of the remaining half of the stadium’s cost through a bond election, ENMU will pay $1 million and the ENMU Foundation is tasked with raising the rest.

Gamble said few ideas have surfaced for the use of the Blackwater Draw stadium, but ultimately the ENMU Board of Regents would have the final say on what is done with the space.

“Anything the board wants to do still has to be approved at the state level,” Gamble said.

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