By Julie Luchetta, for AZPM
A proposed $200 fee that would fund renovations to the University of Arizona football stadium has drawn negative reactions from some students and parents.
The one-time fee for incoming students would be added to the roughly $1,000 a year of non-tuition charges already in place.
University of Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne said he needs to raise $150 million to improve stadium bathrooms, bleachers and concession stands built in the early 1920s. Games can attract up to 56,000 supporters and Byrne said fans could barely navigate the crowded passageways. The Athletic Department said that renovations will significantly increase revenue and help the southern Arizona football program compete at a national level.
The money raised through the fee would cover some of the makeover costs, while the rest would come from private fundraising and ticket sales.
“Each individual’s involvement will benefit the university, will benefit the community, in the long haul,” Byrne said. “We think it’s worth the investment.”
The U of A Graduate and Professional Student Council polled graduate students and 94 percent said they oppose the fee. Byrne hopes a consensus will be reached before next semester and the Athletic Department will be able to break ground in two to three years.
Colorado parent Todd Hegstrom heard of the proposal while touring campus with his 17-year-old son, Ian, who is considering enrolling as a freshman next fall.
“You’re passing through for four years, should you really be required to pay for a stadium upgrade?” Hegstrom said. “For an out-of-state student, I don’t think it’s the right way to pass on that cost.”
Julie Luchetta is a freelance reporter.