In 2014, the citizens of Portales and students of ENMU voted in favor of a bond that would provide $1 million in funding towards building a new Greyhound Stadium. The vote passed with an overwhelming 83 percent, and since then construction has been underway to replace the 47-year-old stadium with a new facility that will have environmentally friendly turf, modern equipment, and 5,000 seats. The new stadium will be located in town, and as of right now, will be open by the Fall 2016 semester.
A total of $14.5 million has been committed to the project, and the school is working to raise $1.5 million more to add a hospitality room. Although there will not be time to fund and build a hospitality room in this phase of the project, Scott Smart, the Vice President of Business Affairs, is hopeful that donors who are willing to invest in the hospitality room in the near future will be found. This room would be used to entertain donors and hold events.
Since 2001, there has been over $124 million invested in campus renovations. Plans for a new stadium have been discussed for years, and it was originally thought that the stadium could be built for $9 million. That original figure was not a result of miscalculation, but a decision to build be more advanced stadium. The original concept for the stadium only included a football field, and now the stadium will be inclusive of other sports, such as soccer and track.
The process of building this stadium has taken the efforts of many people, organizations and the community. Funds for this project have come from a variety of sources, including students. Noelle Bartl, the Director of Development and the Executive Director of ENMU Foundation, leads all campaign efforts. There has been $14,600,000 raised for the project as of February 11, 2016. Marketing for this project was expected to be a problem from the beginning. This is a tough environment for fundraising, and it is a small community.
“We initially thought we needed to raise $4 million to build a stadium and thought that [this amount] would be a major undertaking for a foundation our size. In the end, we have surpassed the original estimate, and are now building a $14.6 million stadium,” said Bartl.
Donations from this project have ranged from $50 to $500,000. Fundraising for this project will continue until construction needs have been met. ENMU President Dr. Steven Gamble and ENMU Foundation Board President Stephen Doerr have been a crucial part in fundraising, as well as the Portales Municipal School District and state funding. Much is being done to ensure that the donations continue to flow through.
To include community members and alumni in the building of the stadium, the brick campaign was put into effect. This campaign students, alumni, and community members to purchase bricks that will be used as a part of the entrance to the stadium. As of February 11, 2016, the brick campaign has raised $123,300 from 494 alumni, students, and friends. This campaign has been extended until March 31, 2016. Students, faculty and staff can purchase a brick at www.enmu.edu/stadiumbricks.
“We are still diligently pursuing naming rights for the stadium as well as other naming opportunities in the facility. There will also be targeted campaigns for locker sponsorships and the seat back section of the bleachers,” said Bartl.
Construction of the stadium began in the fall semester of 2015, and will be finished in July 2016. This will be a sufficient amount of time before the 2016 fall sports season begins to ensure players have enough time to adjust to the artificial turf field. The construction process has been smooth, with the exception for a change in design that had to be made early on due to the caliche that prevented crewmembers form digging deep enough into the ground as they had originally intended. The field was supposed to be about five feet in the ground, and it slightly changed the structure of the stadium and the seating.
Building a new stadium is about more than just aesthetic appeal, and was planned with the community’s future in mind. The stadium is expected to present opportunities for economic growth for the university and the entire town. It will draw groups and organizations here that would not come otherwise.
“We can host track meets, and it’s a great opportunity for a new type of event that’s never happened here before to take place. It is going to be a really interesting new aspect,” said Smart.
Overlooked economic aspects of this project have already begun to benefit the community. The construction workers stay at hotels, eat at restaurants, leading to economic growth in Portales.
Campaigns and marketing will continue to go into affect as well as plans for future campus renovations.