"We're absolutely, definitely going to get it done The stadium needs to get done, and will be done, as soon as possible. This project is critical to Washington State," he said.
WSU will be ready to move the moment the marketplace allows.
The design stage of Phase III is nearly complete, so the focus now is on preparing "for the eventual market turnaround and to try to take advantage of favorable construction rates," said Sterk, who planned to outline the situation to boosters in an email.
Phases I and II of the Martin upgrade -- collectively costing about $27 million -- were launched in December 2006 and formally concluded last month with the unveiling of the giant bronzed statue, "Cougar Pride," near the Stadium Way entrance.
Phase III, which will add 2,200 luxury and other premium seats on the student side of the stadium, was originally planned to get off the ground via revenue bonds leveraged from private donations and the advance sale of many of the premium seats and luxury boxes.
Sterk said the nation's credit meltdown dried up the bonding market, so the school turned to banks and more traditional financing sources. He said the response, both regionally and nationally, was the same: The money's not available right now.
SIDE-VIEW OF THE PLANNED PREMIUM SEATING TIER ON THE STUDENT SIDE OF THE STADIUM. Color renderings of the frontal view are at the bottom of this page.
Phase III -- and, ultimately, a Phase IV which would enclose the west endzone -- will allow WSU to keep pace with its Pac-10 counterparts, Sterk said.
Asked if WSU would consider asking the State Legislature for stadium funding assistance just as the University of Washington is doing, Sterk was clear.
Legislative priorities, particularly at a time when the state's budget situation points to potentially deep cuts, must remain on academics, he said. Referencing WSU President Elson Floyd's recent outline of capital budget priorities in the upcoming Legislative session in Olympia, Sterk pointed to the Applied Technology Classroom project, a new Veterinary Medical Research Building, and basic campus infrastructure such as the Wastewater Reclamation Project, as the top priorities.
For information on the Martin Stadium fundraising campaign, or to make an advance purchase of premium seats, contact Justin Felker in the Athletic Foundation office at 509-368-6729.
ARTIST'S RENDERING OF WHAT THE $42 MILLION PHASE III WILL LOOK LIKE WHEN COMPLETED. THIS IS THE STUDENT SIDE OF THE STADIUM AS VIEWED FROM STADIUM WAY.