By Lindsey Boyd (@lindsboyd3):
San Jose State’s women’s track and field team practices on 50-year-old Bud Winter Field with the hope of getting a new facility. But, after the Division I team was re-established four years ago, it has gone from practicing on the old SJSU tennis courts, to training at Bud Winter Field because the athletics department does not have an estimated $5 million to re-build a facility.
All gifts and donations to the university are collected by the Tower Foundation which has over $200 million in net assets according to Paul Lanning, CEO of the Tower Foundation. But, most of this money comes from endowments pledged for specific areas on campus.
To Lanning’s knowledge, the track and field facility has only received a $3 million pledge from the Student Union. Typically, construction on campus projects only start when 50 percent of the cash needed is generated or all the pledges are made.
Building the track and field facility on top of a parking lot, like San Diego State’s “Sports Deck” is “certainly something we are looking at,” Lanning said. The track and field would still be funded with philanthropic money, while the parking structure could come from parking fees or other sources of revenue.
Spartan Athletics is collecting donations for the project, however, Lanning said that the plans shown online are “four or five years outdated” and that final plans have not been made.
A public campaign to bring awareness for the project and boost fundraising is being developed soon, but the university is still looking for a person to lead the campaign.
Why the slow start to make a track and field facility public campaign after four years since re-establishing the women’s track and field team?
Lanning says it’s because the university wanted to collect a fair amount of contribution money before launching a campaign. That way, it would be more “enticing” for donors to donate. It would also motivate donors to feel like their contribution made an impact closer to the end goal.
The university also says that it cleans up glass and garbage left over from San Jose Giants games and football tailgates so that the track and field team can practice, but Associacitae President-Finance Marna Genes says the university doesn’t have any public records of this.
After 36 days of filing a public records request for financial expenditures relating to San Jose States track and field program, the records were not found.
According to Genes, there are “no disclosable records” for the cost of the team’s maintenance, equipment or facility. Athletic director Marie Tuite explained that costs associated with facility clean-up are either accounted for under a larger “South Campus” category as an “event” cost.
Ground also has yet to break on the originally estimated $38.5 million North End Zone Project for renovating the football stadium.
“…the athletic department is ‘just over halfway’ toward raising the money for the project,” said Gene Bleymaier, athletic director in 2013 of the football facility, according to the Mercury News.
The university may collect millions but tax forms filed in 2012 and 2013 show less than $1.6 was collected for athletics by the Spartan Foundation. $0 donations in gifts, grants, contributions or membership fees was reported in 2014.
“We don’t have anywhere near $20 million for a football facility,” said athletic director Marie Tuite in an email Dec. 11.
According to Lanning, the North End Zone Project did not go as expected and only raised $3.2 million in donations.
In August, SJSU launched the “All-In” campaign with the goal of raising $25 million for phase one of building the Vermeil Football center to update football’s facilities. The $3.2 million in previous contributions was rolled over to the new football campaign.
The university wants to keep certain information pertaining to donations for the football facility private.
Public records requests pertaining to the amount of donations collected for the football facility were said to, “contain private and/or privileged information,” and are still being reviewed.
Public records relating to public record requests (i.e. emails sent to other departments to gather public records) were not released.
“Disclosure of materials exposing an agency’s decision-making process would discourage candid and robust discussion within the institution and undermine the agency’s ability to perform vital functions,” Genes said.
What has been disclosed is a statement that the San Jose Sharks are considering expanding its facility across the street from the track and field facility.
“…SSE [Sharks Sports and Entertainment] maintains a sincere desire to work with the City of San Jose, the owner of the venue, to explore potential expansion opportunities of the facility that will benefit all neighboring organizations including San Jose State University and the San Jose Giants,” said John Tortora, COO of the San Jose Sharks in a statement to The Spear Dec. 19.
The rink shares a parking lot with Municipal Stadium where the San Jose Giants play. SJSU men’s baseball receives a $250 per game discount, according to the San Jose Giants rental agreement with SJSU, to use Bud Winter Field as a parking lot.
“[the payment is] in-kind trade to cover San Jose State University field and facilities usage by San Jose Giants per mutual consent,” states the rental agreement.
The Mountain West said Dec. 8 that the commissioner and the Mountain West decline to comment on SJSU’s facility conditions or its need to update facilities.
With the addition of the Spartan golf and tennis complexes on South Campus in 2017, and the softball field expected to open in 2018, South Campus will continue to change into the new year. Funding for football and track and field facilities will continue to be collected before ground breaks.