CSUN SHOULD BUILD ITS NEW STADIUM ON CAMPUS.
IT was a little over a year and a half ago that four sports were dropped from the athletic program at California State University, Northridge, due to budgetary and gender equity issues. The community was outraged by this action, and as a result of this outrage, the sports were reinstated for one year by the state Legislature and a task force was established to examine the issues impacting the athletic program and to make recommendations that would result in the long-term stability of the program.
The Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics at CSUN looked not only at the budgetary and gender equity issues but also at issues related to conference affiliation, management, the role of athletics at the university and facilities.
With regard to facilities, it was the position of the task force that there is a clear need to improve the athletic facilities at California State University, Northridge. The task force felt that improved facilities will have long-term beneficial effects on Athletic Department morale, fund raising and recruiting. Further, the enhanced facilities will add to the stability of the athletic program and will contribute to the overall relationship of the university and the community.
The recent controversy surrounding the proposed upgraded stadium at CSUN has been generated primarily by neighbors of the university who are concerned about the impact on their neighborhood. Traffic, noise and other environmental impacts are all valid concerns, but the neighbors' protests would be more understandable if there were not currently a football stadium at the university.
The current stadium, which long predated most of the surrounding neighbors, accommodates approximately 7,500 people. It is a poor facility and not particularly attractive nor comfortable for the spectators. The current stadium has poor seating and lighting and inadequate concession and bathroom facilities. It does not represent our university or our San Fernando Valley community well.
When California State University, Northridge, joined the Big Sky Conference a few years ago, a commitment was made by CSUN to the other universities within the conference that the current stadium facilities would be upgraded to the standards required by the Big Sky Conference. This commitment should now be kept.
The stadium should be upgraded to the proposed 8,000- to 10,000-person seating capacity and should remain on the North Campus where the current stadium is. Any environmental impacts, whether current or additional, to the surrounding neighborhood should be mitigated to the greatest extent possible.
The benefits of an upgraded stadium at California State University, Northridge, will extend throughout the San Fernando Valley. Athletics play not only an important role in the university but are a primary means of building bridges between the university and the community.
The outreach and the goodwill that can be engendered by a stable and successful athletic program can likely not be matched easily by other university programs. A successful athletic program with good facilities will benefit not only the university, but our community as a whole.