We have had many calls and emails since last Friday when Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard raised the idea of closing Stephens Auditorium due to the budget shortfall created by the COVID pandemic. Everyone was asking if Stephens was going to close.
While the recommendation was startling, it shines a bright light on how Stephens is funded – an issue that has gone largely unaddressed for decades. Even though 100% of Stephens operating expenses, including personnel, programming and marketing, are paid for by operating revenues, ISU still invests hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to fund maintenance and utilities. And that does not include the long term capital improvement and repair expenses that will have to be addressed in the coming years.
We are encouraged by the fact that even in the face of these economic challenges, President Wintersteen has assured us of her commitment to keep Stephens open. Click on this link to read her statement.
Be assured that we are doing everything possible to contain costs during this unprecedented pandemic slowdown with staff cutbacks, salary reductions and revolving furloughs.
In the coming weeks, we will be asking for your help and ideas about how best to support Stephens going forward. We owe no less to the vision of the men and women who had the dream and the drive to open Stephens fifty-one years ago this week. Together, we can get the job done.