The decision followed a presentation by an ad hoc committee of Victor Gomez, Jeff Massengill and board chairman Carroll Lohse covering the scope and design plan of the project. Gomez chaired the committee.
The funding would be via maintenance tax notes that would be issued directly by the board.
Because no tax increase is necessary, no referendum is required, according to the board’s financial adviser, Victor Quiroga, Jr., senior vice president of Frost Capital Markets.
Quiroga will report to the board July 16 with bids from bond investors; the college should receive the funds Aug. 13, he says.
Repayment would be based on a 98 percent collection rate on $1.5 billion in property valuations. There would be no penalty for early payback, he added.
“The board has the right to reject the bids,” Quiroga warned, “but the next time you want to do this, those investors won’t be there.”
The new stadium—that would seat 1,000 in a wrap-around facility with a canopy and also would include a press box, a separate field house, lockers, showers, a concession stand and restroom, ticket booths, adequate parking, a new scoreboard and a synthetic turf field—should be completed by late fall, in time for the start of games Feb. 1, although Project Superintendant Chuck McCameron told trustees construction already is a month behind.
Part of the delay is a pending use agreement with the Beeville Independent School District and indecision about whether the field would use natural grass or artificial turf.
A number of trustees, including some on the ad hoc committee, favored natural grass until they discovered that the costs for maintaining natural grass almost equaled that of artificial turf, including the need to hire an extra person.
The committee estimated that, over a decade, the cost for installing and maintaining natural grass was almost $964,000; the cost for artificial turf over the same time period is estimated at a little more than $1 million.
Gomez cited needs specific for natural grass, including seeding, growing time, weather sensitivity, special equipment, fertilizer, an irrigation system...
“Gophers!” added Trustee Martha Warner.
“With synthetic turf,” Gomez continued, “you don’t have to hire a maintenance man, you don’t have to cut it, you don’t have to water it.”
He admitted he was surprised to learn that “there have been few reports of any injuries occurring on artificial turf.”
“If we go with artificial turf, the stadium will be the only one in South Texas,” he added.
A determining factor in choosing artificial turf, however, was revenue. Lohse explained that a natural-grass field only could be used for baseball while an artificial-turf field could have multiple uses, including commencements and renting the facility for playoffs and for concerts.
Additional revenue will be gained from advertisements on the new scoreboard and by selling ads on 8-by-20-foot panels—20 panels at $5,000 each—on the field’s back fence.
“Charging a company $5,000 for a 160-square-foot sign is very reasonable,” CBC President Dr. Beatriz Espinoza said. She also told the board the college already had a sponsor committed for $40,000 in advertising for the new scoreboard.
In addition, she said, sponsors who buy a panel would gain exposure to a variety of audiences from high school and college games being video-streamed on the Internet.
Other sources of revenue could include VIP packages, special seating for donors and sale of programs, tickets, concessions and paraphernalia.
Longer term benefits to the new stadium, Gomez said, included benefits to the community’s hotels and restaurants and an increased sense of pride.
“Build it, and they will come,” he said.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.