University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

NEWS RELEASE

News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

Students Kick-Start Carson Park Turf Project
With $300,000 Commitment

 MAILED:  Oct. 22, 2003

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students again will play a major role in making improvements to the football stadium at Carson Park. Student Senate voted Monday night (Oct. 20) to commit $300,000 to help pay for installation of artificial turf and a new scoreboard at the Carson Park football field. The financial commitment represents three of the eight “shares” needed to raise a total of $800,000 in donations to complete the project, which will not receive tax support.

Efforts to replace the current natural grass field at Carson Park with artificial turf resulted from concerns about the condition and safety of the playing surface due to heavy use by three local high schools and the university during the football season.

“I applaud the dedication of Student Senate and the dedication of UW-Eau Claire students in their continued support of Carson Park and the community,” said Student Senate President Adrian Klenz.

“Not only will this contribution help the university’s athletics program, it will help many local schools and youth sport programs in the community. Carson Park offers a wonderful environment for students and families. We’re proud to be a part of that,” Klenz said.

Funds committed by Student Senate will come from student segregated fees, which are allocated by the Student Senate each year to fund a variety of activities, organizations and projects. Segregated fees are separate from tuition, housing and other fees paid by students.

The decision to help pay for new artificial turf at Carson Park comes after a campus Football Facilities Study Committee unanimously determined it would be more cost effective to improve the existing field at Carson Park than to pursue building a new stadium on campus. The Student Senate action brings total student contributions to Carson Park improvements to nearly $1 million since 1996, including contributions toward the construction of home and visitor locker rooms, restrooms, concession stands and other enhancements.

Under the plan approved by Student Senate, $75,000 of this year’s allocation will be combined with an additional $225,000 to meet the total commitment over the next 10 years. The $22,500 annual future fee commitment represents a net reduction of $82,500 from the $105,000 per year students have paid each of the past six years toward earlier improvements at Carson Park.

“The continuing commitment by our students to support facilities at Carson Park represents a partnership between campus and community that is both very special and very rare,” said Chancellor Donald Mash.

“Our student leaders are to be commended for allocating their own money to a project that will provide benefits well beyond the physical borders of the university,” Mash said.

Head football coach Todd Hoffner calls the Student Senate support of the artificial turf project great news for the city of Eau Claire and the image of Carson Park.

“When the city achieves its fund-raising goal and is able to complete this project, Carson Park will be the marquee field in the state of Wisconsin,” Hoffner said.

“We’ve been toward the bottom of the conference (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) when people look at the current field surface, but this will move us to the top because the field turf type surface is the very best there is,” according to Hoffner.

As part of its funding decision, Student Senate placed a May 1, 2004, sunset date on fund-raising efforts for the remaining $500,000. If the city has not raised all the funds by that time to allow completion of the project for the fall 2004 football season, the commitment of student funds would end, and Student Senate would have to consider any continuing commitment at a later date. The Senate took this action to demonstrate its strong support of the effort to complete the project this coming summer and hopes it will serve as a challenge to other donors considering supporting the project.

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MR/LWG


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741
newsbur@uwec.edu

Updated: October 23, 2003