Local News

St. Aug Officials Not Pleased With Recommendations Made By Raleigh Mayor

Posted March 17, 2004

— There is no clear consensus when it comes to a new football and track stadium for St. Augustine College. A vote by the Raleigh City Council is expected next week, but college leaders think some stipulations for the stadium are unfair.

Leaders said they need a 5,000-seat football and track stadium to compete with other Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association schools and help with recruiting. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker supports a scaled-back plan. Among his conditions is a stadium half the size with no events after 7 p.m.

Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber, president of St. Augustine's College, said officials are willing to compromise on some conditions but not all of them.

"What do you do when a track meet runs over into the evening? Do you stop it at 7 o'clock because you have an arbitrary timeline on you?" she said.

Suber said 2,500 seats are not the size of a college stadium. It is more in line with a high school stadium, and Meeker said that is the point.

"That's something that could fit it with approriate restrictions on traffic and could do OK. A stadium of 5,000 or 10,000 would be a problem," he said.

Neighbors in the area are passionate about the issue.

The stadium would back up to the home where Mary Poole has lived for more than 40 years.

"Most of us are senior citizens. Right now, we feel like we need peace and quiet," she said.

St. Augustine's officials will respond to Meeker's recommendations in writing this week.

The college is currently on probation for financial shortcomings. Suber said she does not believe that would prevent the college from building a stadium. She said the probation centers around cash flow not fiscal stability.

The Board of Trustees is considering a possible bond issue or private funding for the $5 million to $7 million stadium project.

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