Football: Fundraising for new stadium successful so far

By Max Sullivan
On March 18, 2014

In January, the University of New Hampshire announced it was seeking $5 million in donations to go towards a $25 million athletic complex to be built in 2015.

According to UNH vice president for advancement and president of the UNH Foundation Debbie Dutton, the total amount raised to date is $2.1 million.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Pamela Diamantis, however, said that President Huddleston is confident that the university may receive more than double its $5 million goal. 

"In my last conversation with President Huddleston, he told me that they were probably going to come pretty close to 10, [possibly] exceed 10," Diamantis said on Friday. "He would only make that statement if he believed [it], or even if they've had some commitments."

Athletic Director Marty Scarano opted not to confirm this, but said that the university is very excited about the pace at which the project seems to be moving, and they still expect to meet their goal of $5 million.

"We are very excited about where we're at with fundraising," Scarano said. "We're doing it in a very short time frame. I mean, when you consider that you go from $0 to $5 million in about three to four months, that's very, very accelerated, typically not done that way."

Any extra dollar amount donated to the university means that it will have less money it needs to borrow. If they raise an extra $5 million, as Diamantis said was a possibility, it means they will only need to borrow $15 million in private loans.

Diamantis sees this as further reason to be optimistic that the project will continue to roll with support as it passes through the various checkpoints of approval. The next crucial meeting will be this April, for which Scarano said the department is "scurrying like heck" to acquire more donations.

According to Diamantis, even alumni without any ties to the athletic program have happily contributed. The consensus among donors is that the new complex will benefit more than just the athletic department. 

"We're hearing from people that they want to play a part in building pride and spirit in the state's flagship public university," Dutton said. "And they want to contribute to something that benefits the state as well."

The university has been successful in other fundraising endeavors this past year. A couple of months before the plans for the athletic complex were announced, UNH raised $1.5 million in donations for an academic center, one which is still yet to be announced, Scarano said.

"When you look at that, you say, 'Wow.' They basically have a seven million place holder on fundraising over the last six months," Scarano said.

The new complex will include a football stadium, to be named West Stadium and built where Cowell Stadium currently sits. West Stadium will add 3,500 seats to Cowell's current 6,500, giving it a capacity of 10,000. The renovations will include state of the art broadcasting and Wi-Fi capabilities, concession stands and restrooms. The new complex will also feature improvements on the other facilities like the soccer fields and tennis courts.

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