UNLV Seriously Close To Getting A New On-Campus Football Stadium

Ethan Miller

UNLV could be getting a new on-campus football stadium.

An on-campus football stadium for UNLV has been talked about for years, but there may actually be one coming to Las Vegas within a few years. This latest project is a partnership between the university and Majestic Realty Co., which built the Staples Center.

Majestic Reality has been in talks with UNLV about building their on-campus since at least since last December, and at that time they said that no tax payer money would be needed to fund the project. If no public money was to be used the stadium will likely be built. However, by saying that no public money will be used is a tricky statement, because that means that tax payers will not pay, but I can guarantee that the university will solicit donors to increase the next time they donate or that tuition may will rise to help cover the costs.

This rhetoric has been spewed in the past about a new stadium, but in the end nothing comes of it, but this time around UNLV president Neal Smatresk feels that a new stadium is close to being a reality.

Smatresk spoke with the Las Vegas Sun about the possibility of the statement, and below are some of the more interesting quotes:

On the timeline ...

In my dream world, I'd like to say that for the next year and a half, we get the financing all tied up and the plans all tied up and we know exactly what we're going to do. And then hopefully we're ready to go. It could be faster if we got really great support. I mean it could be in five years this puppy was getting ready for a grand opening. That's an optimistic timeline, but it could happen.

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On how the arena proposal would affect academics ...

We're not taking state funds to do this. We're not taking tuition to do this. That money is inviolable. That money goes to our educational programs, period. ... Your first pledge has to be you'll never hurt academics when you do this, you won't hurt your efforts to support the state or to get people degrees and give them a great education. Knowing that, then the question is, "Could that money have been used for academics?" And the answer is, "Not really." People who are going to give to this are going to give both out of a sense of pride in community and a sense of what I would call enlightened self-interest or venture philanthropy. ... Is that money going to come here in giant chunks just to support the university? I don't know. I'd love to think it would, but I kind of think this project is the thing that brings it, and I think most people would agree with that.

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On support for the project ...

If you walk around our campus, there might be a few faculty and staff members who are concerned about this in a negative way. The vast majority are excited, so excited they can hardly stand it. They've wanted this for years. Our alumni are going nuts over this. We've got a lot of alum legislators, and they're saying, "How can we help?" There's a grass-roots enthusiasm for this project that I believe has a sense of correctness for this region and for the community. To me, it's like pent-up goodwill.

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Final thoughts

Will we get this done? I don't know; I hope so. I feel like the team is in place. Really, the question is: Does the city, region and county think this is a valuable proposition? Or will donors and founding partners find value in this because it will help them improve their economies?

If it does and they do, then I think we're going to be in good shape. But we definitely need our friends in the business community here, and everybody in Las Vegas, to be really supportive of this. ... If I'm guilty of something here and the university is, it's having big dreams. I say it's time to have big dreams for the city. It's time to get our pride back. It's time to be brave and to go out and do it. Be done with being afraid; it's time to be bold.

There was also talk about how this new stadium would create more year round events outside of just UNLV sports, and also that this new stadium could lure in a NBA team. In my opinion the only way this thing gets done is if there is no tax payer money used for the project, and it can be proven to boos the local economy with events being held all year.

The UNLV stadium talks begin at the 8:45 mark:

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