So far, it hasn’t.
In the year since the last brick was laid, JSU has made two $1 million debt payments. The school used revenue generated from the stadium and the dorm project to make each of the payments, avoiding dipping into the general fund revenue, said Clint Carlson, JSU’s vice president for administrative and business affairs.
The payments were helped along by football ticket sales, which skyrocketed after JSU’s football team beat Ole Miss in the season opener. According to JSU athletic program spokesman Greg Seitz, the football program sold almost 20,000 season tickets to fans in the last season.
In addition to that, game-day sales drove attendance to nearly 24,000 on at least one occasion, he said.
The university also rented about 18 of its 33 game-day suites for two years. Two of the 33 are not available for rent and are reserved for the university’s president, Bill Meehan.
Money from those sales, added to money generated from other stadium events such as band competitions, totaled about $1 million in revenue for the last year. That equals about one of the two annual payments.
Revenue from game guarantees — big-name teams that pay JSU to play — can also be a significant source of income for the institution. Last year’s game against Ole Miss was such a game. Next season JSU will play the University of Kentucky in Lexington, another game with a guarantee. James Bennett, chairman of the JSU Board of Trustees, said that two seasons from now the university will likely secure two game guarantees that, together, could amount to as much as $1 million.
“It’s our intention to have two a year to dedicate to this purpose,” Bennett said.
JSU officials say the other source of funding for the bond debt payment — new dorms that were built at the same time as the stadium — generated enough money to pay for its part of the project last year. Last year officials said students committed to 90 percent of the 385 beds in the new development.
But by fall semester, just 72 percent were occupied and in the next semester occupancy fell to 65 percent.
Students paid between $2,400 and $2,600 per semester to live in the apartment-style dorms.
As of last month, students had committed to 86 percent of the 385 beds.
The institution dropped the price for the rooms for this year. Students will pay between $2,200 and $2,600 for the same units this year.
Star staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544.