Students' reaction to stadium renovation project mixed

By Katie Gardner
On February 11, 2014

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After UNH's recent announcement of its plans to build a new athletic complex at Cowell Stadium, students expressed mixed feelings. The $25 million football stadium has some students asking questions.

"Why make a bigger stadium when you're not filling the current one?" sophomore Matt Kimball said.

The current stadium seats about 6,500  with approximately 750 students attending each game. The new stadium would be able to hold 10,000 people.

"I don't think building a bigger stadium will bring more people," sophomore Shaina Maciejewski said.

Belinda Bechtold, sophomore, agreed. She said that she believes it won't make people enjoy the sport or the game any more than they do now.

"Just because they have nice seats doesn't mean you're gonna watch football if you don't like football," Bechtold said.

Not everyone agrees with this though. Some believe that the football stadium can help to attract more students, current and prospective.

"I think if they have a better stadium it could increase the popularity of the games," sophomore Tim Zaremba said.

Others think this way as well, saying that it'd be good not only for the university, but for the team as well.

"I think it's a good idea because the team is doing well now," sophomore Mia Burnes said. "They're earning it."

Lindsay Hydorn, sophomore, thinks that a new stadium can help to improve what the student body thinks of the team. 

"I think many times people don't take the football team seriously," Hydorn said. "[Cowell Stadium] looks like a high school stadium."

Matt Kaplan, a senior football player going into his fifth season next year, also thinks that the stadium could look better. He said that the rest of campus is "beautiful" and "top of the line" and that Cowell Stadium doesn't meet these standards. Kaplan said that with increased TV coverage, people might think that all of UNH looks like this and that it will deter prospective students.

Brad Prasky, who is also a senior football player going into his fifth season, thinks that the new complex will be great for the team and the football program. He said that teams from the past have worked hard to make UNH proud and to gain community support so that future players could have more than teams in the past did. He said that he believes the new stadium is the next step towards achieving that.

"We are already looking forward to large turnouts under the lights next season, and I can only imagine the atmosphere in a new stadium," Prasky said. "I just hope that everyone else is looking forward to it as well."

Kaplan hopes this as well and said that the new stadium will be beneficial to the campus and community.

"This new facility will make the sports complex on par with all the other facilities on campus," Kaplan said. "With a state-of-the-art facility, what student or community would not enjoy watching one of the most elite teams in the country?"

Some people are wondering about the money though and if this is really a necessary investment. UNH said that $20 million of the cost is coming from cash reserves and that the other $5 million will be raised through contributions.

Allen Zou, sophomore, thinks UNH should slow down on spending money on things that are supposed to draw in new students and make the university more modern.

"I think it's unnecessary because they just spent all that money on the new logo," Zou said.

He said that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

"A lot of students need financial aid and that outweighs the benefits of a new stadium," Zou said.

Maciejewski also had ideas for other things UNH could spend the money on.

"If we're focusing on anything it should be academic buildings," she said.

Prasky doesn't want people to see the stadium or the football program as a financial burden.

"I hope that the student body and the community can see this as a positive thing, and that they are looking forward to seeing our team play in it because our goal has always been to make this university proud, not to be an expense."

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