WJHL.com - State approves ETSU's $18 million football stadium

State approves ETSU's $18 million football stadium

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JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -

News Channel 11 has learned the Tennessee State Building Commission approved an $18 million project to build a new football stadium for East Tennessee State University.

"I'm so proud to have football coming back to the East Tennessee State University. College is first and foremost about academics but a full and complete college experience is crucial to attracting top top-quality students to the university," said Lt. Governor Ramsey. "The return of football to the ETSU campus will enrich university life in so many ways. But the first step to building a great football program is building a high-quality facility. I'm excited that the commission has approved this outstanding project."

Lat month, ETSU hired former University of North Carolina coach Carl Torbush as the head coach for the rebooted football program. 


 

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The Tennessee State Building Commission will consider a proposal from East Tennessee State University for an $18 million football stadium.

The State Building Commission, which Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R- Blountville) chairs, is set to consider the roughly 10,000 seat stadium Thursday morning at its regularly scheduled meeting.

"I think a nice stadium would just add to everything else exciting that's going on at ETSU," Lt. Gov. Ramsey said. "That's not going to be a problem getting it approved. It won't be a problem."

The Tennessee Board of Regents and ETSU are requesting the seven-member panel approve the project, budget, scope, sources of funding and proceeding with the process to select a designer.

$7.5 million of the $18 million stadium would be funded by already approved student fees.

"This gets the designer appointed," ETSU Vice President of Finance and Administration said about tomorrow's vote. "There's been many questions of course as to where the facility may be located. We've certainly got ideas, but that's a big part of our first step is to help us evaluate potential sites."

The rest of the funding, roughly $10.5 million, would either come from fundraising efforts or be included in next year's state budget.

"I think it's justifiable, I really do," Lt. Gov. Ramsey said. "College is about an experience. It's about the atmosphere. I think in the end more people will come to school. I mean a lot of us know colleges simply by the football team. Maybe that's not fair, but it is the truth. We don't need a huge stadium...but I want it to be nice and so we'll make sure we get this in the budget to where we can move forward."

"There's definitely going to have to be fundraising involved, but if Governor Ramsey can help us with that we'll certainly be appreciative," Dr. Collins said.

Lt. Gov. Ramsey says if everything goes as planned, ETSU's new football team may be able to start playing at the new stadium by 2016.

"At least the second year have it ready to go so we can hit the ground running," Lt. Gov. Ramsey said. "Let me assure you this is a lot faster than things normally happen. They usually get on a list, move their way up the list, three or four years after it gets funded, but I think time is of the essence on this. That doesn't hurt to have the lieutenant governor, the chairman of the State Building Commission, be in favor of this stadium, so obviously we're on the fast-track to say the least."

According to the plans, Phase 1 of the stadium project would seat 3,500 fans. The finished project would seat 10,000.

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