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Stadium Funding and UAlbany Flagship


uofalbany
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This conversation, as off-topic as it may be, brings up a good point.

 

Is there a reason why Jennings (and others) have not publicly supported this project or commented since the budget was passed?

 

I'm in no way questioning what happens behind the scenes, because I don't know. What I am questioning is why more isn't made public.

 

And don't tell me "that's how politics works". Because I know how politics works. It works in front and behind closed doors. At least thats the way it works effectively. Maybe there is too much going on here behind closed doors. Maybe that why we don't have a big $$$$ donor for the stadium. Who wants to donate to something they know nothing about and whose status is apparently secret.

 

That's why people have the opinions of politicians that they do. The way this whole situation has been handled to date in my opinion, gives the air of "you silly little fans don't need to know. We'll handle it and you just sit there and write checks."

 

I am hopeful it will change once the site plans are done. We'll have to wait and see.

 

 

And on a side note. Everybody needs to relax. Its getting tense here because this process is so frustrating to the "average fan." Lets all discuss our opinions in a way that does not include personal attack or attack on other posters' knowledge. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows.

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And on a side note. Everybody needs to relax. Its getting tense here because this process is so frustrating to the "average fan." Lets all discuss our opinions in a way that does not include personal attack or attack on other posters' knowledge. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows.

 

I couldn't agree more about not letting things get personal. Through almost 20 pages of posts things haven't been bad and hopefully that continues.

 

I will say that as long as the board has existed, someone has posted their opinion and the next poster down the line has disagreed. That's what keeps things interesting as long as it doesn't devolve into a flame war. It would be pretty boring (and pretty unlikely) if we all marched lock step on every issue.

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uofalbany, if you really want to know what mayor Jennings is doing, then I suggest you ask the Mayor instead of asking "the board". Have you gone to the City's web-site and asked him? So many of the actions being taken are behind the scenes, the fact that you hear nothing doesn't mean that nothing is being done. How much did we know about the LAX stands until it was announced that they were being finished? Nothing except we were trying to get the $. While we would all like to know everthing that's going on regarding our facilities, it's just not going to happen.

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And on a side note. Everybody needs to relax. Its getting tense here because this process is so frustrating to the "average fan." Lets all discuss our opinions in a way that does not include personal attack or attack on other posters' knowledge. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows.

 

I couldn't agree more about not letting things get personal. Through almost 20 pages of posts things haven't been bad and hopefully that continues.

 

I will say that as long as the board has existed, someone has posted their opinion and the next poster down the line has disagreed. That's what keeps things interesting as long as it doesn't devolve into a flame war. It would be pretty boring (and pretty unlikely) if we all marched lock step on every issue.

 

I agree (obviously). The other thing is that with more and more posters coming to the board, which trend is likely to continue as UA sports increase in popularity, more and more differing opinions will find their way here. Let's not forget that that is a GOOD THING.

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I'm just wondering whether one reason why the State did not come up with funding for the stadium this year is because the State is not going to pay for the whole project. Other donors might have to be lined up before the State will commit the funding.

 

On the other hand, UA did list its priorities for the year, and the stadium was not in the top of the list.

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I really can't understand the criticism here of Mayor Jennings; he has been advocating the need for a stadium probably longer than this forum has existed; some may not have liked or agreed with some of his proposals for joint efforts with the City and/or at off campus locations (including me); and I have to strongly agree with GDG here that questioning Mayor Jennings' commitment to a stadium is simply uninformed. One small example can be found in the following Mark Singelais article from September, 2007:

 

ALBANY - Lined by wooden stands on one side, aluminum bleachers on the other, University Field seems adequate for a NCAA Division III football program.

 

The problem is, the University at Albany upgraded its intercollegiate sports pro grams to Division I eight years ago.

 

That's why Great Danes football coach Bob Ford wants something better.

 

"If you said, `What is (our) stadium?' You'd have to say it's more like a Division III stadium, if you had the (nerve) to call it a stadium," Ford said.

 

UAlbany seeks to change that - with a lot of help from the state.

 

UAlbany wants public funding for a projected $60 million, multipurpose stadium that would seat 10,000 to 15,000 fans. It would stand on or near the site of University Field, the team's 5,000-seat home since the Great Danes became a varsity program in 1973.

 

Lee McElroy, the school's athletic director, said UAlbany has submitted its plan to the State University of New York system. The SUNY board of trustees has yet to consider the request.

 

"It's too early to address specific projects" for 2008, said Dave Henahan, the spokesman for SUNY system administration.

 

Should the trustees endorse the plan, it would go to Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who then would decide whether to put the project in his budget request for 2008-09.

 

UAlbany seeks $5 million to $8 million in private donations to supplement state funding, McElroy said.

 

School officials hope to begin construction next year and have the artificial-turf facility ready by fall 2010 for the football team. It also would be available for soccer, lacrosse and high school events.

 

"It will provide a venue that is representative of the entire university community," McElroy said. "It will also be an economic impact drive to the Capital Region."

 

UAlbany soon will begin a site analysis and environmental impact study that is expected to take three to five months and will determine the best location for the project.

 

UAlbany upgraded its sports program in 1999 to Division I, the highest level of college athletics. The football team plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA, in which programs are allowed to give out a maximum of 63 full scholarships.

 

Better-known schools such as Ohio State and Florida play in the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A, which has a maximum of 85 scholarship players.

 

UAlbany once played at the Division III level, which offers no aid based on athletic ability.

 

Right now, UAlbany spreads the equivalent of 23 football scholarships among 45 to 50 players. The hope is that a new football stadium will attract better players and allow UAlbany to someday become a fully funded FCS program.

 

"I think (UAlbany) football, sometime during my lifetime, will probably be at the level with UMass, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, a major state university playing scholarship football on that level somewhere in the future," Ford said. Dick Laskowski served as athletic director at Stony Brook University, another SUNY institution, when that school opened its $22 million football and lacrosse stadium on its Long Island campus in 2002.

 

"I'm a believer in the appearance is so important in the way you sell an athletic program," said Laskowski, now a business professor at Stony Brook. "(The stadium) is the front stoop of your home."

 

State Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Bethlehem, said he would endorse UAlbany's project. The funding, he said, could be ready in time for the April 1 state budget deadline.

 

"I think they're very deserving," he said. "I think if you want to have Albany compete with other state universities, it has to have an athletic complex that's fitting of being the state capital."

 

Stony Brook received important assistance from Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, whose name is on its stadium. But Laskowski said it would never have been built without the support of Stony Brook President Shirley Strum Kenny, who made the facility a top priority.

 

That raises questions as to whether UAlbany has the leadership at the top to make its stadium a reality. UAlbany still is searching for a president to replace Kermit Hall, a sports enthusiast who died of a heart attack while swimming in August 2006. And Susan Herbst, who led the school as officer in charge since Hall's death, is leaving for a top administrative job in Georgia's public university system.

 

UAlbany is touting the proposed stadium as good for the entire Capital Region, a venue that could host high school games in a variety of sports.

 

"There's nothing here in the Capital District that can seat outdoor anywhere close to 10,000 people, so where are we sending these (high school) teams?" said Ford, who turned 70 on Tuesday.

 

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said he envisions a "great partnership" that would allow the city's scholastic teams to use the stadium and save taxpayers millions of dollars in improvements to municipal fields.

 

"As far as I'm concerned, it's long overdue we have a first-class stadium here," Jennings said.

 

Joe Altieri, a spokesman for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, said his organization would have interest in moving events to a new Albany stadium. That includes the East semifinals of the state football tournament, currently played in Kingston.

 

Dan Nolan, a 1974 graduate, said he has pledged $100,000 to the new stadium. He's a member of the steering committee that is organizing fundraising efforts.

 

"When the school made the decision to go Division I, you really can't do that and have a legitimate Division I program without having the facilities that go with it," said Nolan, who works in the investment and financial planning industry.

 

Nolan, a member of The College of Saint Rose board of trustees, also has his name on that school's basketball gymnasium, which underwent $7.5 million in renovations before reopening in 2004.

 

He said getting contributions for a public facility can be a challenging task.

 

"When I graduated, I never gave two thoughts about giving financial support," Nolan acknowledged. "You look at it as, `This is a publicly funded university with taxpayer support. Why should I give money to it?' "

 

The project could face other obstacles. Assemblyman Peter Rivera, D-Bronx, said he doesn't think state money should be used to build college stadiums.

 

Although Rivera said he understands why UAlbany feels deserving in light of the funding other SUNY schools have gotten, he also wondered if the priorities of higher education have been misplaced. Rivera said he's looking for $5 million in next year's budget to create an office of diversity in the SUNY system.

 

"The truth of the matter is the state of New York has not dealt with the issue of the Hispanic community as well as it should," he said. "Our numbers are lower than they should be in the SUNY system."

 

Rivera said stadiums at UAlbany and other state campuses should be financed through alumni donations or private endowments.

 

And there are the community concerns.

 

Laskowski, the former Stony Brook athletic director, said he spent many nights visiting local neighborhood groups to address their worries about noise and traffic increases. That's one reason Stony Brook built its new stadium at the center of its campus. Even now, Laskowski said, Stony Brook makes sure the LaValle Stadium lights are off by 10 p.m. after night events.

 

"You've got to take care of the community," Laskowski said.

 

City Councilman Dan Herring, whose Ward 13 is near UAlbany, said he hasn't heard concerns from his constituents yet. But he added there will be questions as the stadium becomes closer to reality, particularly with traffic and parking.

 

"Tripling (the stadium's) capacity, I'm sure there's some impact there," he said. "How it's going to be handled will be a concern."

 

Mark Singelais can be reached at 454-5509 or by e-mail at msingelais@timesunion.com

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I'm just wondering whether one reason why the State did not come up with funding for the stadium this year is because the State is not going to pay for the whole project. Other donors might have to be lined up before the State will commit the funding.

 

On the other hand, UA did list its priorities for the year, and the stadium was not in the top of the list.

 

 

That was actually my understanding of the project as it was presented about 4 years ago. If we raised $X million (I think it was 5 or 10 million) privately then the state would kick in $30 million and the City/County would chip in another $5 million. But that was before the project ballooned to $60 million.

 

I agree with the priority issue, but I haven't heard anyone say "we only allowed two priorities". What I've heard is "we didn't even know about the stadium" (Bruno) and "we didn't have any supporters from the other side" (Cannestrari). If the line was that the stadium was discussed and turned down because each school was being limited to its top two priorities then things would be different, in my mind at least.

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I agree with pretty much everything stated by DP, Statefan, GDG...BUT ESPECIALLY THE LAST POST BY DF.

 

The transparency I ask for is: what is the real issue here, prioritizaton; lack of knowledge regarding it; and/or cost.

 

I find it hard to believe Bruno was unaware of it. If so, he should retire. I also find it hard to believe OTHERS did not know about it. If so, Cannestrari should retire.

 

IMHO, they were both aware of it...aware of the issues...but put it off for next year. Just my .02. Just please, NYS LEADERS...dont try to sell us a bill of goods. I would prefer honesty and transparency.

 

In fact, that is not just a NYS theme...but a current National theme.

 

As for the Jennings comments...totally off-base. I have had PERSONAL discussions with him at PRIVATE events....and he is ALL FOR IT. Can't blame him for wanting to put the two together (stadium and center).

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Jenning has also OPENLY questioned the viability of the Convention Center in a "The Business Review" article from a few months back. As it currently stands, the state would have to pledge much more then the 205 mil already committed in order to make it a reality. The reported project cost would be around 400 (397.5) mil with cost estimates rising an additional 40K a day if the state doesn't commit the remainder of the funds needed by June. I doubt the city would in a position to contribute anything to the football stadium as the financial picture for the city isn't all that rosy. The state has NOT told the Convention Center Authority to scale the project back so all of the focus is on making a sound decision regarding this huge project.

 

Not saying Mayor Jennings isn't working or supporting the stadium project but he obviously has bigger issues on his hands.....like what to do with the convention center and thus has not been very vocal on the stadium project, at least from what I've seen or read.

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I just want to make it clear that I'm not questioning Jenning's committment to the project.

 

I am questioning why the views of such influential people (him and others) haven't been brought to the public's view since the budget was passed.

 

That's all. Nothing against Jennings. I hope and believe that he will continue to be a supporter of UA and UA athletics as he has been in the past.

 

In fact, I'd like to see him present at most, if not all of the UA home football game this year. The same goes for Bruno, Cannestrari, Breslin, Philip and everyone else who supposedly supports UA athletics.

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In fact, I'd like to see him present at most, if not all of the UA home football game this year. The same goes for Bruno, Cannestrari, Breslin, Philip and everyone else who supposedly supports UA athletics.

I'll watch from the Varsity Club tent if they're forced to sit on my season-ticket planks for the entire game with no cushions.

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That's what many of us fail to realize - the politicians have more on their mind then UA's football stadium especially if they anticipate lay offs or major budget issues.

 

What we would like to do and what we are able to do much of the time doesn't matchup.

 

If we leave this website and enter the real world out there how many NYS citizens other then us were disappointed that UA didn't get their funds for a new football stadium.

 

In fact more were happy that we didn't get the money because it probably alloweded some other groups to be funded.

 

Reality is a tough pill to swallow.

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That's what many of us fail to realize - the politicians have more on their mind then UA's football stadium especially if they anticipate lay offs or major budget issues.

 

What we would like to do and what we are able to do much of the time doesn't matchup.

 

If we leave this website and enter the real world out there how many NYS citizens other then us were disappointed that UA didn't get their funds for a new football stadium.

 

In fact more were happy that we didn't get the money because it probably alloweded some other groups to be funded.

 

Reality is a tough pill to swallow.

 

True. But it doesn't mean we can't bitch about it on here, does it? In fact, this is probably the only place we can go to complain. Nobody else cares.

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