Marc S. Posner
North County News
Orange County Register
09 Dec 1992: d03.
Cal State Fullerton’s decision to drop football for at least one season won’t prevent the city from recovering its investment in the new $10.2 million sports complex, city officials said Tuesday.
But the lagging economy has so far prevented the city from recovering any of the university’s $4.7 million repayment commitment, they said.
And completion of the complex might be jeopardized by the university’s decision, which was announced Monday.
“The thing that I thought was critical is that we need to raise an additional $2 million to complete the baseball pavilion and the football (stadium),” said Dick Ackerman, a former Fullerton mayor, councilman and the co-chairman of the complex’s fund-raising committee. “From my standpoint we needed the program to raise the money.”
Ackerman supported the decision to move the program to Division I-AA, which is being considered for the 1994 season. But the year without football had him and some potential donors he spoke with concerned.
Ackerman said the city would be hurt by the lack of a complete facility. Still to be added at the baseball pavilion are a press box, restrooms and concession stands. Completion of the football stadium requires the addition of locker rooms and a training room.
“A sports complex was not just for a football facility,” he said. “It was to be a facility for the entire community. (The city loses) to the extent that we’re not able to complete it.”
Fullerton mayor Molly McClanahan said she trusts strong fund-raising efforts will continue to be made and that the facility will still be used for other sporting events by both the university and the community.
The city’s major concern is the recovery of money it advanced to the university for its share of the complex’s construction. The same sour economy that led to the demise of Cal State Fullerton’s football program has also hit the city’s main interest in the complex — the Marriott hotel.
The deal forged between the university and the city was for repayment of the school’s $4.7 million share of construction costs solely through payments from Marriott.
The city agreed to pay the full $10.2 million cost of the facility with the understanding the university would return its portion from rent paid by the Marriott hotel, which is on school property.
But the hotel’s business has not been as strong as expected, nor have room rates been as high as the city anticipated, city spokesmen said. Because business has been significantly below projections — and below an agreed-upon minimum — no rent is yet due.
Copyright Orange County Register Dec 9, 1992