Finley Stadium votes for $600,000 fundraising initiative for new turf

Finley Stadium votes for $600,000 fundraising initiative for new turf

June 24th, 2014 by David Paschall in Local - Breaking News

Finley Stadium

Paul Smith, director of operations of Finley Stadium.

Photo by C. B. Schmelter/Times Free Press.

Finley Stadium's board of directors continued to firm up plans for a new football field during Tuesday's meeting.

Executive director Paul Smith already is targeting a field further down the road.

Stadium Corp. members voted for a $600,000 two-year fundraising initiative that could lead to the instillation of a new surface by kickoff of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 2015 football season. Mike Davis oversees capital projects at the 20,668-seat facility and made the motion, which was quickly approved and had resounding support from board chairman Bryan Patten.

"It's an ambitious undertaking," Patten said. "The depreciation of Finley Stadium is largely unfunded. We're almost 18 years old, and stadiums have lives of about 40 years. We have a fabulous facility, and we're trying to recognize the quality of what we have with this two-year fundraising effort.

"I'm optimistic we can carry a message to Chattanooga that we can meet this fundraising goal."

Davis said he was still negotiating the cost of the turf replacement, but Smith estimated it would be between $450,000 and $600,000. Smith had his budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year approved during Tuesday's meeting, and it included a $50,000 expense for a Davenport Field Depreciation Fund.

By adding that expense in the next 10 operating budgets, the Stadium Corp. would have $500,000 to purchase a new field again before the 2025 season.

"We need to add this," Smith said before his budget was approved. "It's a real expense."

For more information, read Wednesday's Times Free Press.