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The U of O's Bank Shot

OPB | Jan. 30, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:39 p.m.

Should the State Legislature back $200 million in bonds to pay for a new basketball arena on the University of Oregon campus?

The proposed (and still officially unnamed) “UO Nike Arena” would be the one of the largest and definitely the most expensive college arena in the country, seating about 12,500 spectators in 380,000 square feet. It would be used for college basketball and volleyball games, along with concerts for students and residents.

And with the Legislature’s approval — which could come in the upcoming Special Legislative Session — the $200 million for the arena would come solely from state-supported bonds. The idea is that those bonds would in turn be paid back with athletic department revenues (read: ticket sales, concessions, merchandise).

U of O officials make it clear that the state of Oregon will not actually end up paying for any of the stadium. But what if revenues aren’t as great as the university hopes? Or if the project goes over budget? Should the state take the risk?

And, if as a state we agree to basically co-sign a loan for this much money, do we want it to go to a sports arena? If a college is making that kind of investment in its sporting venue, should it be forced to make a similar commitment to academics as well? Or are the arena’s benefits to students and the community already enough?

It’s the battle of Academics versus Arena: How do you think they should be balanced?

GUESTS:

  • Ryan Knutson: Junior at the University of Oregon and a reporter at The Daily Emerald
  • Dave Frohnmayer: President of the University of Oregon
  • Gordon Sayre: Professor of English and president of the faculty senate at the University of Oregon

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