Stadium vote wraps up Friday

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

Eastern New Mexico University freshman Jonathan McCormick thinks the college’s current stadium at Blackwater Draw is an embarrassment.

He’s willing to put up the $40 a semester for the rest of his college career at ENMU to change that.

Courtesy photo An artist’s rendering of the proposed on-campus stadium for Eastern New Mexico University.

Courtesy photo
An artist’s rendering of the proposed on-campus stadium for Eastern New Mexico University.

“I haven’t been to many games yet but if (the stadium was in Portales), I’d probably go to most of them,” said McCormick of Clovis.

He is one of the 800 full-time students who has voted as of Thursday afternoon in an online student election that will determine whether a proposed $8 million ENMU football stadium will be built in Portales to replace the 45-year-old one eight miles north of town.

If the vote is successful, all students will pay half of the stadium’s cost through student fees for the next 30 years.

Full-time students, who represent 57 percent of ENMU’s record fall enrollment of more than 5,800, will pay $40 a semester. Part-time students, who aren’t eligible to vote per the ENMU student government’s decision, will pay $3.33 per credit hour.

ENMU Student Government President Justin Aguilar said students have been coming to him with questions all week to be fully informed about how the vote will affect them. Aguilar feels optimistic based on conversations he’s had with students that they will vote in favor for it.

“So far it’s been really positive,” Aguilar said. “(ENMU President Steven Gamble) has held forums and students really just want to know the facts like when fees will increase. It may not happen for another year-and-a-half (if the vote is successful).”

Voting closes for students at noon today.

“I’ve heard so many people talking about the election and people are not attracted to the old stadium,” said freshman Iris Molina of Ruidoso. “I feel if we had a bigger stadium, more people would come.”

Though Molina said she wasn’t too happy about fees being raised in order for the stadium to be built, she said she respects the administration for giving students a chance to be heard rather than pushing the fees on them without a vote.

“I think it’s cool students get to vote for it,” Molina said.

Sophomore Adrian Gonzalez of Plainview, Texas, agrees.

“I thought it was pretty cool knowing that they care for student input,” Gonzalez said.

He said it makes sense to build a new stadium as compared to updating the older one.

“(Blackwater Draw) is all right but it could be better and $40 isn’t that much. It’s not a huge difference,” Gonzalez said.

With students covering half of the projected cost, a quarter of the remaining $4 million cost will be request from Portales schools because its athletics teams will also use the facility. ENMU has agreed to pay $1 million and the ENMU Foundation will raise the rest.

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