Referendum results: look out for new facility next year

Sports referendum passed, construction to begin May 2019 & end October

John Laforest
Staff Writer

Minnesota State University, Mankato students voted yes on Tuesday to the $4 million inflated sports dome proposal, which, if approved by President Davenport, will fill a long-standing void for an athletics complex on the MNSU campus.

The votes went heavily in favor for building the sports bubble, with “Yes” votes topping “No” votes, 1,900 to 997, respectively. With the approval, the plan will impose a fee of 83 cents per credit on students, that comes out at $10 per semester.

Under the Student Government’s constitution, the referendum also faced a participation requirement to be valid; that the number of voters equaled at least 50 percent of the turnout in the previous general student election.

MSU students really wanted their opinion on the dome to be shown, which is evident from the voter turnout on the election.

“The voter turnout was definitely a huge surprise and something Student Government is very proud of,” said Student Government President MeMe Cronin, who was heavily involved in the extensive efforts by senators to educate students on the referendum and get them out to vote.

Considering the voting came from just a fraction of the 14,366 students that attend MSU, it’s fair to assume that the voting came students on opposite sides of the spectrum who the dome would benefit the most versus the least

Non-student athletes are pondering why they must pay an extra $20 for something they wouldn’t use.

“Students want to pay for a new stadium that we don’t need when the art department literally has no money to even buy student supplies that they need to make the art work,” said a student from MSU concerned about the art department.

The dome would be used from 2-5 p.m. weekdays by MSU’s sports teams. Otherwise, the facility would be available for the general use as a classroom for certain college classes, for intramural sports or club teams, and to rent out to the youth sports teams in the area.

Even students who said they most likely won’t use the dome at all still voted in favor due to the low fraction that $10 to the overall tuition bill.

Carter Nelson, a second-year mechanical engineering student, said he expects to get no use out of the dome. Nonetheless, he voted “yes.”

Nelson said he’s willing to throw a few dollars a semester to a project that would make life more pleasant for his fellow students: “In the grand scheme of tens of thousands of dollars of student debt, $10 isn’t much for me to give up.”

Another student from MSU, Colin Roskos, agreed that $10 would not break him financially. Roskos voted “no” because the new facilities and new initiatives just keep coming, and each one has a fee attached.

“Every time they have a new project, it costs money,” the computer engineering major said. “… It’s $10 here and $15 there, but it adds up.”

Students overall seem to be nearly as close as the vote was to build the dome. The main concern for the student body, how is the construction of the dome benefiting the school as whole if we don’t focus on athletics? What message is building the dome sending to the priories of the school?

The success of our sports teams has a lot to do with the dome and rewarding the accomplishments of the soccer and especially the football team should be dually noted.

Nonetheless, construction is slated to begin in May on the dome, and is slated to be ready for full use by the month of October of next year. The dome will be located along Monks Avenue on the southeast corner of MSU’s campus. It will be deflated during warm-weather months with its artificial turf playing surface available for outdoor play.

Feature photo courtesy of MNSU Campus Rec.

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