Eight months after a private fundraising drive began and nearly three years after a new student fee passed the student senate, shovels hit the ground Monday on East Tennessee State University’s campus at the site of the $26 million football stadium soon to be built.
Further from the Johnson City Press:
As university President Brian Noland threw touchdown passes to wide receiver Demetrius Anthony in an end zone painted at the approximate location where an actual end zone will be when the stadium is completed in fall 2017 and Scott Niswonger, who donated $1 million to the project, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who helped guide it through the necessary approval process at the state level, piloted heavy diggers around a mound of fresh dirt, the word “historic” was used frequently.
“Today is a historic day,” ETSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Scott Carter said. “The skyboxes are sold out, the club seating is halfway gone and, if you want mid-field tickets, you’d better get them now, because they’re going fast.”
Borrowing based on advance premium seating ticket sales will make up 15 percent of the 10,000-seat (eventually) facility’s final price tag, according to the university’s funding plan. Another 31 percent, or $8.2 million is expected from a $125 per semester student fee instituted in 2013 and $1.6 million will come from a corporate marketing bond.
The largest chunk on funding, $12 million, is to be generated through private donations, a campaign that Carter said is nearing the metaphorical end zone.