The board of directors for Finley Stadium reviewed financial results for fiscal year 2011-2012 and the projection for fiscal year 2012-2013 on Tuesday and concluded that the stadium is in pretty good financial shape. The financial report showed a surplus of $108,000.
Board member Gordon Davenport, Jr. recommended that a portion of the excess be moved into the general fund savings account. Director Merrill Eckstein said the almost $20,000 surplus from the previous year is figured into the total and he would like for that amount to stay in a checking account, while moving nearly $47,000 into savings. Doing this would mean the stadium corporation will be operating on this year’s money.
There were few unexpected expenses for the year, which helped the bottom line, unlike the previous year when pipes broke and caused excess water usage. Mr. Eckstein said that additionally, conservation of both water and power reflected positively in utility bills. The only unplanned major repair was $12,500 for a new air conditioning unit for the west end of the Stadium Club. Other repairs were minor items covered in the operating budget under building maintenance.
He told the board that the stadium has a maintenance contract to service both the video board and scoreboard for $6,200 annually. The high cost to repair and upkeep these makes the contract well worth the expense, he said. There also is a maintenance agreement with Jake Marshall Company for the HVAC system that he said is worthwhile.
Projects that have been completed are the replacement of the roof over the Stadium Club at the cost of $11,500 and some minor repairs to some metal siding.
On the revenue side, a decrease in rental fees was reported, attributed to the fact that there were many non-profit events which have a much smaller rental fee than for-profit organizations are charged. He said the stadium does not lose money on these events because the facility still receives money from concessions in addition to creating goodwill.
The budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 is off to a good start with the successful soccer event in July that had an estimated attendance of over 9,000. The Baylor and McCallie game this coming Friday is expected to draw around 10,000 and the UTC homecoming game on Saturday against Appalachian State should have an attendance of close to 15,000.
Mike Davis presented the facility maintenance report which gave the status for capital projects. Priorities included caulking an area over the Stadium Club to stop leaks. This work has recently been completed. The north parking lot has been re-striped at a cost of $6,300 and a new field microphone is in the process of being purchased at a cost of $2,000. Replacement of the roof over the press box and sky boxes is estimated to cost $80,000, which the board voted to approve at the meeting Tuesday. Mr. Davis said that work will start quickly and that it would not interfere with events.
Projects that remain to be done include a repair to the edge of the south side of the field between the football and soccer sidelines. It appears that places where the teams stand have left depressions. For this fall’s soccer season the area will be smoothed by rolling it. After the football season and before spring soccer, it will be repaired. It was mentioned that depressions on the field itself had been fixed by previous maintenance crews by using Gorilla Glue that became very hard once it dried and created hazardous conditions for players. Mr. Eckstein said those places have now been repaired correctly and the field is in good shape.
Mr. Davis told the board that maintenance is staying just ahead of the curve with repair needs being handled before they become a problem. Items identified for attention in the future include re-lamping field lights in the next 2-3 years, seal coating the north parking area as well as cleaning the pervious pavement. The life span of the field turf is projected to be 12-15 years. It was installed in 2005 and so the need to replace it is expected to be in the next five to eight years.
The idea of using the stadium for an entertainment venue for major events was mentioned as well as the challenges of doing this. The rental cost and finding a promoter who is willing to take the risk is seen as a hurdle. Starting with small events was also seen as a problem since there are indoor locations that already have available staging and no weather threats. It was noted that the act for a major event would need to attract people from other places like Nashville, Birmingham and Atlanta since history says that the number needed would not come from this area alone. Mr. Davenport suggested that Mr. Eckstein meet with Tim Morgan from the Convention and Visitors bureau. His prior experience with sales and marketing in the Charlotte, N.C. area may provide some insight that would be beneficial, he said.
Bryan Patten, chairman of the board, said that contributions from “Friends of Finley” this past year reflected the tight economy and challenges. The group is about to launch fundraising for the current year during the football season with a goal of raising $75,000. The hope is to expand conversations with the city and county for participation, and to promote public-private partnerships.