ETSU's new football stadium could possibly replace the current Intramural Field. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
The field of sites contending to be the location of the future football stadium at East Tennessee State University is now down to two.
ETSU President Brian Noland said Wednesday that the two remaining spots, one near the soccer fields on the west end of campus and the other on the hill overlooking the facilities plant and the Basler Center for Physical Activity, each present unique problems to the construction of a new sports facility.
“We still have a lot of work left to do to see if the locations are viable, but we hope one of the two sites will be a viable alternative for a new stadium and still have the ability to have room for expansion in the future,” Noland said. “We’ve got to do our due diligence with respect to the engineering work to look at the rock and water concerns at both those locations.”
In February, the university president named the two sites, along with a handful of others, as possible locations on campus with enough empty land to build a 10,000-seat venue and still leave room to expand as the school’s football program took off.
But even then, he voiced concerns over the frequent flooding of the practice fields and the underlying geology of both sites.
“We want to make sure we look at every aspect and study every angle before we make an announcement,” Noland said. “We don’t want to say we’re putting it in a certain location and then be faced with some factor that sends us looking for another site.”
Noland announced intentions to restart the long-dormant ETSU football team more than a year ago, aiming to have the athletes take the field in 2015.
The college’s Student Government Association overwhelmingly backed the initiative early this year, approving a $125 per student per semester fee to contribute $7.5 million toward the new stadium’s expected $18 million price tag.
The remaining funds will likely come from the state, according to Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
Though the stadium project was approved in July by the State Building Commission, Noland said there is no concrete timeline for the project’s construction.
“Finding the right location is taking longer than we anticipated,” he said. “But that should not affect our anticipated first season.”