The sale of bonds backed by the state of Oregon might seem harmless; but the $200 million in bonds for the new UO Arena actually affects the "other" bonds (and hence needs/projects) that the state can issue. This is because the state limits the total amount of bonding indebtedness at any one time- since they have to service the debt.
Bonds for the seismic rehabilitation of statewide public school buildings, possibly higher education buildings as well, police and fire stations, and hospitals were authorized by the voters back in the November election of 2002. But no bonds have ever been issued! The $200 million in bonds issued for the UO arena are one complicating factor or crouton in the soup; as the total amount of bond indebtedness that the state can handle at any one time means that even bonds that are "authorized" may not be issued-- if the state is at the determined indebtedness limit.
One wonders how many buildings (possibly with students in them) are on the UO campus that are in need of seismic strengthening and retrofit? What capital plans and campaigns are in place to address these issues? It is always troubling when "entertainment" trumps most other real societal needs and concerns. It's as different as day and Knight!
John Wooden, famed UCLA basketball coach, said it best:
- "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
- "Don't mistake activity for achievement."
- "Intensity makes you stronger.
Emotionalism makes you weaker."
- “If you don't have time to do it right,
when will you have time to do it over?”
A - It is not the most expensive. They've surveyed. I think it is Tennessee that's spending $250mm.
B - The UO Athletic department is extremely well run, being one of a hand full in America that runs at a surplus, not drawing from the University's General Fund. Repaying the bonds from athletic operations and donors has been independently reviewed.
and C - A topic for another show: Oregon's system of higher education has one of the most backwards and restrictive forms of governance in the western U.S. The legislature gets to way in on a huge number issues besides major capital expenditures: including tuition, how to offer aid, professor's salaries... to name a just a few.
If Oregon is going to remain competitive with Washington and California, as well as the world, a more progressive form of State governance must be adopted.
Best way to get this project done:
A - be like USC's Galen Center and attract (less wanting something back) donor's.
B- make the basketball arena double as a performing arts arena for their Top notch Symphony Orchestra, but first recruit great musicians.
c-add other disciplines so Oregonians don't have to send their kids out of state.
Is there a more expensive arena out there? We've been trying to check this out, but so far can't find one that is. If anybody can point to one, though, we'd like to know, and pass along the source!
We got our information from a report by Convention Sports & Leisure International, that you can find on the University of Oregon's website, as a part of the University of Oregon's Arena Report (check it out here: http://pmr.uoregon.edu/current-uo-news/archive/media-advisory-file-2007/UO-Arena-%20Report.pdf/view) On Appendix B (page 73) there is a comparison of collegiate arenas built since 1995... none of those listed cost more than $200 million.
"Is there a more expensive arena out there?"
I think the answer to this, is "yes." The arena anticipated to open in Louisville in 2010 is similar to the one proposed for U of O in Eugene in that the men's and women's basketball teams will be the primary tenants. According to the link provided below, the Louisville arena is expected to cost at least $255 million (or $55 million more than the one proposed for Eugene). Some cost projections have gone far higher for the Louisville facility, whereas U of O officials have insisted that the Eugene arena will absolutely not exceed $200 million.
That link is to an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, last August. I tried to find more up-to-date info, but didn't find any.
I am intrigued with what has already been posted. Comparing the Louisville and Eugene arenas, it seems that the Louisville arena is quite comprehensive and includes many of the amenities no longer included in the University of Oregon's plan.
The primary difference between the two arenas is a parking garage, 9,000 seats, and retail space.
While we are sure that the U of O arena WILL NOT exceed $200 million, Louisville's estimate may more accurately reflect the true cost of the project.
If U of O thinks it's such a great idea to build a $200M white elephant like this in Eugene, why don't they go to a commercial bank? In case U of O officials haven't heard, everyday people are having a hard time economically and the country's teetering on recession.
I live in university housing less then 500 feet from the proposed Arena and I am excited to have a new venue to watch duck basketball.
While University Administrators may desire the Arena to be their legacy, their true legacy will be even worse conditions in the Residence Halls. The administration has began a dialog with students and many of of their concerns are on the table and are beginning to be addressed.
Princeton Review rated them the worst in the nation even without hoards of fans traversing them on a twice weekly basis.
Mac Court is old, as are most of the buildings on campus. We need a new Arena. We also need new residence halls and classrooms. All of these projects will require using public capital financing money.
If $200 million in capital financing is spent on the Arena, how much is left to carry out the Housing Strategic Plan, add classroom space, and renovate existing structures?
Interesting that we are so casual about that much money for a sports stadium, that I'm betting is not necessary...I'm guessing here. Do these guys have no where to play? I'd wet my pants if you dropped 200 mill on elementary school education.
In fact I'd like to see sports arenas anywhere attached to elementary education. X $ for elementary education and X$ for big sports.
Why are tax payers subsidizing elite sports? How many billions of dollars have gone into building stadiums for sports teams? As an educator of elementary education, I believe that elite sports actually work against the goal of lifelong fitness for our children. When our children fail to make the elite sport teams: classic soccer, basketball, baseball etc as young teens their participation in exercise decreases. There is no wonder that we are becoming a more obese nation. Elite sports is entertainment. Should we subsidize Brittney Spears? We should finance physical fitness not elite sports. I do not feel public education should support elite sport teams at all. What is the education purpose?
Exactly, what's the educational purpose? Makes you wonder if this Fornmeyer guy is getting some sort of kickback.
As frustrating and distasteful as it sounds, college sports are a major part of the student experience. In the extreme, if you eliminated sports, a large number of Oregon kids would seek an education outside of the State. And 2/3rds of college grads remain in the state where they went to college.
I'm a former UO Foundation board chair. 90% of my personal giving is to academics and 10% to the athletic department. I'm not a sports nut, but I see the arena as an integral part of the overall ability of the UO to serve the State of Oregon.
Just a slight correction: the teaser before the show stated U of O is the states largest university. I believe PSU has the greatest number of students in the state.
You?re right, by 15,000 students! Here?s the link I should have double checked:
This is outrageous. The majority of the students attending UofO don?t have health insurance, their dorms are deteriorating and the university is trying to cover increasing costs by raising prices on students.
If Phil Knight wants to have a new arena to showcase Nike merchandise so bad maybe he should just build one for them. $200 million is petty cash for Phil.
So while other countries are far outpacing us in producing engineers and scientists in every field, we'll be the world leaders in throwing balls through a hoop.
As a society we've apparently given up on producing engineers and scientists in favor of creating more entertainment (sports).
We're not thinking longterm anymore. We've all just been selling each other lattes and houses for the last few years and some apparently think this plan will work indefinitely.
for engineers and scientists look a little farther north to OSU, there you'll find an oregon school that actually produces people who can fill jobs. I mean think about it, does the world need journalism majors like Dan Rather, or Chemists that study and work on finding solutions to our energy needs today, shrinks and envoronmental degrees or mechanical engineering, enough said....
UO's success with its $600 million campaign has inspired OSU to have a campaign. They say they are now half way there.
To Mr. Knight,
Please stop wasting your good money on sports arenas. Instead the people of Oregon would be even more appreciative if you directed your contributions to academics in the Public School system, to Health Care, to affordable housing, to parks and environmental stewardship, to bicycle trails, to sustainable building practices, etc.
Just say no to extravagant sports arenas! If Phil Knight has donated $107Million, then use that to build it - scale down your plans, everyone else has to.
And, no, as a citizen of this state I do not want to co-sign a loan for this much money. Given the turmoil in debt markets right now (including municipal bonds) this is a very bad time to borrow - rates for bonds like this are going up dramatically.
would NIKE/ Phil Knight ask for taxpayer assistance if this donation was going to his other school , STANFORD ?
Even if the bonds can be repaid my ticklet sales, it seems to me that recouping this large investment would depend on increasing Oregonians' interest in sports, and increasing their attendance, etc. While I can see the value of athletics, I wonder if it is such a great idea to focus Oregon's public energy and money on sports in order to protect our investment. A 200mil investment has the potential to influence the cultural growth of the state. Is this the direction in which we want to grow?
It's bread & circuses... oh, wait, just circuses, no bread.
UofO is a mediocre school at best. As competitive sports are for mediocrity a new stadium is a perfect fit!
I am curious how the university gauges the return on athletic investments as an attractor of academic donations and/or increase in enrollment to the university due to athletic sucess or percieved unversity sucess due to facilities like a wonderful new and expensive arena?
The buisness of sports can be justified if it makes money for a university and supports the academics, are we ok with this being reprisentative of the Ducks and shaping their reputation, and by extension the reputation of oregonians?
There's a limit to how many bonds the state can back (especially now given the problems in the credit markets). Wouldn't we be better off issuing state bonds to fix failing infrastructure like roads and bridges? How about investing in public transit and education?
Spending huge amounts on a sports arena, rather than academics is thoroughly misguided. One of the reasons Oregon as a state is viewed as, and is, such a poor backwater is lack of emphasis on academics, and failure to build and maintain a university as an academic institution, rather than a university as an entertainment outlet.
Sure, a better stadium or arena might attract a few more students. But students drawn to a school because of the sports program can't be thought of as serious about education.
How about spending the money on academics. Why not raise graduate student stipends, for one? The typical stipend is almost embarrassing and is not competitive with other major universities. After all it is theses individuals, not basketball players, who will most likely be the leaders of tomorrow.
The fact that the state legislature will approve 200 million in bonds for a basketball arena, but cannot fund music, art, and sports programs in elementary/middle/HS is a glaring deficiency in the OR's priorities as a state.
Why can UO secure bonds for a new glorified gym but PSU, the largest university in the state could not secure enough bonds for an adequate student center, or continues it's sports programs in a leaky roofed gymnasium?
Is the purpose of a college to be a sports powerhouse, or to fund the higher education of students and Oregonians, so they can be prepared for their respective careers and secure a better future for Oregon?
Listening to the discussions about U of O's proposed stadium expenditures I had to revisit an editorial about college sports written by Frank Deford for NPR. In his 11/14/07 editorial entitled: Comparing Sports , Arts Is Dangerous Business, he says,
"I think what exasperates so many people is that the situation only grows more lopsided, that sports in our schools and colleges are not only ascendant, but greedier and more invulnerable than ever.
For prime example, The Chronicle of Higher Education has reported that donations to athletic departments have increased dramatically. College stadiums only become more opulent, so-called student-athletes more outrageous."
Although Franks speaks only of how the arts take a back seat to funding afforded college basketball and football programs, I submit that it is all academics that suffer this neglect. My suggestion is that, to be fair, every investment made to a sports venue be matched by an equal investment in an academic venue/program/building. At the very minimum it sends college students the message that their academic studies are actually valued equally with the sporting events so loved by the alumni. And if we are speaking of being fair, see Frank's 1/2/08 editorial: In All Fairness College Athletes Should be Paid.
If the legislature grants the $200 million bonds requested by Dr. Frohnmeyer and the U of O, what happens IF they also approved his future request (and it is coming) to have U of O become a private entity apart from the State System?
Another can of worms!
I'm really concerned about an apparent side-note to this discussion: MacArthur Court is one on the best places in the country to see basketball game. There isn't a bad seat in the house, it's a beautiful old building, it's part of Eugene's skyline, and it has a lot of history. What it lacks is ... skyboxes. You can't wine and dine potential donors during the winter months at UO, you have to actually rub shoulders with the riffraff (otherwise known as "students").
I think the real issue surrounding the new stadium is that it is more profitable to appeal to a few super-rich patrons to whom the price of a ticket is no object than to appeal to broad support from the whole community.
artical by Zach Dundas, a free Portland newspaper.
the Carnegie foundation last year dropped Oregon from its highest doctoral institution category to the second-highest , making Oregon the only Pac-10 school with that unhappy distinction.
U/O needs to get academic grades up before playing.
I don't view it as academics vs arena, given that is it a loan. That said, I think that selected Div I sports facilities & programs have gone over the top. I played college sports and am a huge follower of U of P soccer. I even thought of going to the UO in the 70's since I was a runner in high school. I see the role that athletics plays for colleges, but some sports in some universities have taken program "needs" to absurd levels.
I went to the UO athletics web page to see the details but the press releases were mainly focused on what the building would look like, not information about the specific issues and needs. Then there was a survey that asked "would you buy tickets" if. Needless to say - I was not impressed. That gives me the flavor of empire building.
I don't feel our state needs this. Sure if the university has donors who want to back it - go for it. My vote is for a bond for a new high school for my 10 years old to go to - and its going to cost 40% less!
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