Sunday, October 27, 2013

ASU to Improve College Experience with Donated Turf

An editorial by The Standard Times celebrated the installation of a $1.2 million turf and called the planned home game at the campus facility a worthwhile experiment.  In April the paper reported the San Angelo Health Foundation's contribution to the venture:

Angelo State University, $100,000 to install field turf on a practice field
Other donors included 1st Community Federal Credit Union, graduate Larry C. Clark and an anonymous contributor.  Apparently, these donors kicked in the other $1.1 million.  Several 1st Community board members have ASU ties.  Harlan Bruha once headed ASU's Small Business Development Center.  Former Mayor and ASU Assistant Professor Johnny Fender also sits on the 1st Community Board of Directors.

The field will be named after 1st Community Credit Union, while the LeGrande Sports Complex bears the name of another wealthy donor, neurosurgeon Dr. Bob LeGrande.  The editorial went on to highlight:

Big news to come out of the event was that ASU plans to start playing some of its football games at the stadium beginning next season. At least one game — on Sept. 13, against Western State of Colorado — will be played there.
The report stated new bleachers would need to be added, but did not identify the cost or who might foot the bill. 

ASU officials see value in playing football games on campus. Their goal is to boost enrollment to 10,000 in part by enhancing the college experience, and an element of that can be having football games — the biggest and most exciting communal events — on school grounds.

The editorial was silent on concessions, restrooms, sky boxes and other essential services associated with big time Texas football and wealthy alumni.

The San Angelo Health Foundation was formed in 1995 when Angelo Community Hospital, a nonprofit community hospital, sold out to Rick Scott"s Columbia/HCA .  It's current Board Chairman, Dr. Robert Patyrak spoke about the foundation's mission in 2011.

The intent of the Foundation is to remain in operation in perpetuity and to support community health in its broadest form. For over 15 years the San Angelo Health Foundation has served San Angelo and our Concho Valley neighbors by supporting the efforts of local nonprofit organizations and public entities.
Given the foundation's strong support of community health related projects since 1995, I'm surprised the City of San Angelo did not approach the Health Foundation when it "needed" to eliminate its sexually transmitted disease clinic and drastically cut immunizations for children and seniors.  Dr. Patyrak, as a pediatrician, would've appreciated the need to keep up children's immunizations. 

The City cut $138,000 from the health department budget in September 2012.  Ironically, San Angelo Mayor Alvin New, an Angelo State University alumnus and wealthy donor, drove the clinic's closing.  That action contributed to a more severe than normal flu season and a 300% increase in syphilis for our community. 

San Angelo will face more community health issues as the health care landscape is remade. Which experiments will contribute to the health of our community and which ones will degrade it?  

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