Coastal Carolina University officials are still looking to stay under the $38 million mark for the expansions to Brooks Stadium, and the administration still isn’t planing on tuition increases.
The Finance, Planning and Facilities committee unanimously approved a motion to issue $38 million in higher education bonds for the stadium at their regular meeting Thursday. The motion will go to the full board for approval Friday morning.
“In order to execute a contract with a contractor, we have to know we have the financing in place,” said Stacie Bowie, vice president for finance and administration. “If we get approval from the state agencies, we can go to market as quickly as possible.”
University officials set a budget that is not to exceed $38 million for the stadium in December, and officials must have financial backing before architects can give professional estimates. The updated stadium is expected to have more than 21,000 seats, a new entrance plaza and a brand new suite level operated by the Chanticleer Athletic Foundation.
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We’re going to explore every source of additional funding for this project.
Matt Hogue, CCU athletic director
CCU will pay back the bonds through traditional debt service funds, which are set aside every year from the general budget, according to Stacie Bowie, vice president for finance and administration. As the university has grown, officials have been able to set aside a certain amount per student toward debt services, and officials aren’t planning to raise tuition to pay for the project, Bowie said.
“Currently our students contribute toward debt service, so it will not increase our student tuition at all as a result of issuing this bond and paying our debt service,” Bowie said.
Though the committee passed the motion unanimously, board member Natasha Hanna wanted assurance that student tuition would not be impacted by the project. She said she wasn’t comfortable spending $38 million on the expansion and wanted to make sure university officials are doing their best to cut costs.
“I just want the assurance that administration will do everything they can to evaluate cost-savings measures and cut out luxuries,” Hanna said.
CCU’s athletic department is churning out different ways to pay for the stadium, and Athletic Director Matt Hogue said he’s exploring every source of funding.
“Everyone in our department knows we’re looking at every source to offset the cost of this project,” Hogue said. “Rest assured that due diligence is taking place.”
There’s still more work to be done before we can go out to bid. So if there’s aggressive bidding, it can certainly bring the price of the project down.
Stacie Bowie, vice president for finance and administration
The department is considering packaged ticket sales and new naming rights opportunities to prevent price increases, which the Chanticleer Athletic Foundation will negotiate, Hogue said.
The initial motion requested $39 million worth of bonds, but board member Delan Stevens amended the funding to $38 million to “reflect previous discussions” about the price.
The university’s athletic department, in conjunction with the athletic foundation, will also chip into the bond payments, Bowie said.
“The combination of both associations will pay the debt service, and right now we feel very comfortable with this and it will not have any impact on our cash flow,” she said.
Renderings released in December showed the closing in of the seating bowl on the end of the field by Adkins Field House, an upper seating deck on the S.C. 544 side along with a suite level in the middle, a boardwalk connecting the open end of the field behind the scoreboard, and a new entrance plaza at the corner of S.C. 544 and University Blvd.
A new concourse with amenities, new suites and a shuttle drop off area are also expected from the renovation. What is presently a retention area near the stadium will be filled in and a new gate built so fans can walk past the softball and baseball stadiums and continue down that sidewalk right into the football stadium.
Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN