AUBURN | Cayuga Community College and the Auburn Enlarged City School District on Monday jointly announced intentions to pursue a capital project that would result in a new CCC stadium and the addition of synthetic turf to the district's Holland Stadium next door.
CCC also announced a $500,000 naming gift from Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski, whose extensive history with CCC includes being a founder of the Cayuga County Community College Foundation. Karpinski, a well-known retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and his late wife, Floryanna "Honey" Karpinski, were heavily involved in the Auburn community, regional and state organizations, and traveled the world helping those in need of medical and oral care.
"I hope this athletic facility will encourage, not just the college campus members, but all of us to pursue healthy living through exercise and athletic competition," Karpinski said at the press conference. "Sports can teach us so much about ourselves and about getting along with others. Through sports, we learn about teamwork, persistence, success, disappointment, leadership, practice and self-discipline — all valuable skills for success in life."
The proposed Dr. Joseph F. and Honey Karpinski Athletic Stadium Complex would cost an estimated $6 million, according to CCC. The 150,000-square-foot complex would be located on three acres of land the school district has agreed to swap with CCC; the land is on the shared border between Auburn Junior High School and the college.
In return for the land on which to build its own turfed stadium, CCC would install turf at Auburn's Holland Stadium, located behind the junior high school, which is adjacent to the CCC Auburn campus.
Daniel Larson, CCC president, said the college cannot spend state money on upgrades to school district property, so instead CCC will attempt to secure other non-taxpayer funds through fundraising.
"We will assist with fundraising so that turf can be installed on Holland Stadium," he said.
The Karpinski stadium would be located behind Spartan Hall and feature a softball field, baseball field and a multi-use field (for soccer and lacrosse. It would have 1,500 spectator seats and 5,000 square feet for locker rooms, dugouts, public restrooms and a concession stand, according to CCC.
Larson said the $500,000 gift from Karpinski, called Dr. Joe by friends, is the largest gift the college has ever received from a living person.
But the project will require $5.5 million more to be completed. According to CCC, the college will try to secure $3 million in matching funds from New York state and hopes to raise the other $2.5 million through Faculty Student Association funding, student activity fee revenue, collecting rent for use of the fields and launching a capital fund-raising campaign.
Besides the still-needed funding, the stadium project needs approval from CCC's Board of Trustees, the Auburn school board and the Cayuga County Legislature. The school board is scheduled to vote on the land transfer concept at its meeting tonight.
Superintendent J.D. Pabis said that since the three acres will be exchanged with CCC for goods or services, a public referendum is not needed, although one would be needed if the transaction were a sale, he said.
"It's a board resolution," he said.
If all three boards approve the project, the proposal would be sent to the State University of New York for approval from the state.
"I think we set the stage today for group efforts between municipalities and school districts," said John Camardo, CCC Board of Trustees chairman.
CCC has no on-campus athletic fields and students must travel off campus to have access to a playing facility. In the meantime, the school district has been wanting synthetic turf for years; it dropped a proposal for turf at Holland Stadium in 2008 after the school budget vote failed.
According to CCC, the Karpinski stadium project would "enable the district to move forward with the turf without burdening the taxpayers or requiring their vote," according to a press release.
Pabis said the new stadium will allow the district and CCC to host large regional and state events — concerts, marching band competitions, more than one sports competition simultaneously, and other events.
"This is an unbelievable opportunity for a school district and a college to partner," Pabis said.
Other effects of the proposed new stadium would be the moving of the fitness equipment and main entrance of the nature trails behind CCC east, closer to the Nature Center. Also, 50 out of 972 parking spaces would be sacrificed, but the college could convert a former tennis court into about 56 parking spaces.