ICON Venue Group to Help Assess Stadium Feasibility and Conduct Additional Public Engagement

Colorado State University announced today that ICON Venue Group has been retained as a consultant to help study the feasibility of an on-campus stadium at the university and to coordinate additional public engagement opportunities.

Denver-based ICON’s portfolio includes 30 stadium and arena projects around the globe, including Colorado venues such as the Pepsi Center, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, 1st Bank Center and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The firm will serve as a consultant to CSU’s Stadium Advisory Committee on issues such as design, funding, site analysis, stakeholder engagement and more.

“ICON has deep experience overseeing complex stadium projects, including landmark venues in Colorado, and their input and counsel will be invaluable as we examine whether to move ahead with a new stadium at Colorado State,” said Amy Parsons, vice president for University Operations and co-chair of CSU’s Stadium Advisory Committee. “Most importantly, as we begin to focus on selection and analysis of potential sites, they’ll work closely with the committee to ensure that we continue to have a robust public engagement strategy that captures all the issues and opportunities associated with the potential project.”

In January, President Tony Frank created the Stadium Advisory Committee – a 15-member panel with representation from student, faculty, staff, alumni and community stakeholder groups – and asked members to provide a recommendation by the end of the semester on whether CSU should consider pursuing construction of a new stadium. Charging the committee to work in a thoughtful, inclusive and transparent manner, Frank has also set out a series of guidelines that must be met if the stadium project is to move forward. These include:

• CSU won’t consider putting the stadium on existing open green space, including the intramural fields.
• CSU won’t consider putting the stadium in front of significant existing view sheds so as to protect views of the mountains.
• All recommendations from the Stadium Advisory Committee must take into serious account any impact on neighbors in areas adjacent or near a new stadium.
• State appropriation, tuition, fees or taxes will not be considered as funding sources for a stadium project.

ICON’s management team will be introduced at the next meeting of the Stadium Advisory Committee at 7 p.m. March 29 at the Fort Collins Hilton, 425 W. Prospect Road. Information about the Stadium Advisory Committee and the upcoming meeting is available at www.colostate.edu/stadium.

The firm was selected through a competitive process and will be paid with private dollars. Key criteria for selecting a consulting firm were expertise in complex, public construction projects – including experience with stadiums – as well as a proven ability to support the committee and its subcommittees with research, data and analysis. In the last 14 years, ICON has been project manager for nine new arenas, including Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Phoenix and Denver. They have produced and delivered venues for franchises in every professional sports league totaling more than $4 billion. Principals on the CSU project team include Tim Romani, ICON president and chief executive officer, and Ray Baker, who serves as chairman of the Metropolitan Football Stadium District and has served on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

“Because Colorado is our home, we take great pride in working with CSU to examine whether it makes sense to build a new stadium on campus,” Romani said. “Our team is enthusiastic about the project, and we will deliver the data, analysis and input needed so that the Stadium Advisory Committee and the university’s leadership team make the best possible decision. We also look forward to working with potential neighbors, alumni, students and other public stakeholders to ensure that they have a meaningful voice in the process.”

ICON’s public engagement strategy will build on the independent work of the Center for Public Deliberation, which was tasked by the Stadium Advisory Committee with conducting an initial series of 10 public forums designed to gauge public sentiment surrounding the on-campus stadium proposal. Results from those forums are available on the CPD website – www.cpd.colostate.edu – and will be reported at the March 29 meeting of the Stadium Advisory Committee.

As part of the next step in the public input process, ICON will work in consultation with CPD and the Stadium Advisory Committee to create additional engagement opportunities.

“The CPD has worked as an independent facilitator to truly get a big-picture sense of the sentiments, concerns and interests that people on all sides of the issue are feeling at this early phase of the stadium discussions,” Parsons said. “ICON will take what we’ve learned from that and help us drill down into the details, a task which will require additional public insights on specific pieces of the proposed project. Ultimately, all of these individual facets will provide the baseline for whatever recommendation our committee will give to President Frank at the end of this process. We are committed to a thorough, open and transparent process that considers all questions and implications that come forward.”