JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - ETSU's new football program could get a new place to call home -- we've learned they are a few steps closer to getting a new stadium.
A new football program and a new stadium is the goal for ETSU, and their dream is one step closer to becoming a reality. "To say that it's moved along quickly is an understatement," Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey told us Wednesday.
Ramsey tells News 5 Thursday is just another step in the process to build a new stadium. "We'll be approving the preliminary part of it, which will be selecting a designer and making sure funding is moving forward," adds Ramsey.
The project will cost around $18 million; ETSU's Vice President of Finance David Collins tells us the students will make up for around $7 million of that. "The Student Government Association [approved the student] fee of $125: $100 for the operations of football program and a $25 facility fee," says Collins.
We learned the state will fund around $11 million for the project.
Where would they build the stadium? Collins hopes the designer they choose will be able to help to find a location that's easy to build on and that wouldn't have flooding problems. "There is some space down by the [ETSU] soccer stadium that has some potential flooding issues. If you go back to the original athletic master plan, it was along Jack Vest Drive in the parking lot that we call 22A, somehow fitting it in that area," adds Collins.
There are other locations in the mix. Ramsey tells us he wants a stadium that fits in with the rest of the campus. "[We'd like] seating in the neighborhood of 10 to 12,000. It doesn't need to be huge. I'd rather fill up the stadium and have people waiting on tickets than have a stadium that never fills up," says Ramsey.
Ramsey wants to move the project as quick as possible, but if it isn't ready the team will play at another location, one option being Science Hill High School.
ETSU hopes to have some of the stadium opened for the team to use by fall of 2016.