By Christina Calloway
Eastern New Mexico University President Steven Gamble said Wednesday the university has secured the $8 million it needs to begin the construction of its new multi-purpose stadium.
Plans are underway to build the school’s new stadium, which will be built in town, replacing the 45-year-old stadium at Blackwater Draw about eight miles north of town.
Gamble said with the money they can start with hiring an architect as well as seek state approval of the project.
Gamble said the state has to approve the project even if there was no state money involved because ENMU is asked to treat all money as the state does.
Half of the $8 million cost will be paid through student fees over the next 30 years, which was approved by student election in the fall.
The other $4 million is comprised of $1 million from the university’s reserves, $1 million from Portales schools, a part owner of the stadium, $606,000 from available tax money in the last legislative session, $500,000 from an ENMU alum, who Gamble declined to name, and the rest came in the form of smaller donations.
“All of that gets us to the $8 million we need to start the project,” Gamble said.
The goal, however, is to raise a total of $12 million, though Gamble said the $8 million will still build a nice stadium.
The additional money ENMU officials hope to raise would cover amenities such as paved parking for the stadium, an additional locker room, and more stadium seating.
Gamble said he still unsure of what the state will do with its old stadium but he said ENMU and Portales High School teams will continue to play there for the next year or so.
Gamble said he would like the project to start January 2015.
ENMU Foundation’s efforts to raise the additional money needed for the project to begin was praised by students and alumni alike.
“These are the students, the 87 percent voted the for the fee, they want to see that action,” Gamble said. “We now have in hand money we can just lay on the table.”
But it isn’t just the ENMU community that is cheering on the project. Portales Mayor Sharon King is excited of what the stadium will add to the Portales community.
“I think moving the stadium to town is going to be a real boost to the city of Portales,” King said. “It will help us attract more motels and restaurants to town. It will definitely help gross receipts, which is the major way we fund the city budget.”