LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Citizens voted to abandon Lubbock Municipal Auditorium and Coliseum on Saturday, choosing to turn the facility over to Texas Tech.
526 votes made the difference as citizens voted in favor of Proposition A.
The final vote was 51.8 percent for and 48.2 percent against, with 7,757 people for the measure and 7,231 against.
The city council voted to place this issue on the May ballot in January after reviewing finances and maintenance costs. The city estimated that it currently costs about $700,000 to keep up the facility and it would cost around $15 million to renovate the facility for future use.
"I think the council certainly put it in front of the voters. As mayor I found myself talking about why I thought it made sense to vote for Prop A," Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said. "Let's move forward, I think they weighed it. It was important that (the citizens) got to vote, that's what the charter says."
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec has come out saying that if the land is reverted back to the university it could benefit the school if it was made into a residence hall. Robert Duncan, Tech system chancellor, also laid out a plan for the university and the system if the land were given back to Tech.
In late May he wrote a letter to the system and said the system will shoulder the cost of demolition to the facility and work with the city to find alternate venues for any events that would have been hosted there.
"They believe that it's good for Texas Tech and generally what's good for Texas Tech is good for Lubbock," Pope said.
Schovanec's office released an official statement on Sunday, which said, in part, the university will eye that plot of land when planning for its continued growth.
"We appreciate the citizens of Lubbock for returning this property to the university. Texas Tech University would not be the wonderful institution it is today without the support of the local community," Schovanec said in the statement. "This was a sensitive issue for many, but I assure you we will be good stewards of this outcome, and continue to work with the city as we plan for the future use of this space that will help accommodate Texas Tech's continued growth and expansion."