UNLV’s quest for a new football stadium/entertainment center and a new 11-member board to jumpstart the stadium project moved ahead Tuesday when a fifth board member was named.
The Clark County Commission appointed its representative to the UNLV stadium board: one of its own, County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.
Giunchigliani is a former longtime teacher and state legislator. After teaching in Kansas for two years, she taught special education in the Clark County School District for many years and served in the State Assembly from 1990-2006. She served as president of the Clark County Education Association and as president of the Nevada State Education Association.
“She’ll bring a lot of knowledge. She’ll bring a lot of experience. She’ll ask all the tough questions,” said Cedric Crear, a Nevada Board of Regents member who was picked to serve on the UNLV stadium panel.
“She’ll be an asset,” said Crear, who owns an advertising agency.
Lawyer Mike Wixom, another Regent appointed to the stadium board, said he looks forward to working with Giunchigliani.
“She brings a lot of legislative experience. And the stadium is in her district,” Wixom said Tuesday.
The UNLV stadium board was created after UNLV officials hit the re-set button a few months ago on the stadium project when it dumped its former private stadium partner, Majestic Realty. UNLV moved in a new direction, convincing the state Legislature to create a stadium authority and district to oversee the project.
After the previous $900 million 60,000-seat, domed stadium proposal was kicked to the curb, the new authority board’s charge is to identify a cost, scope and funding options for the stadium/entertainment center. Several large casino companies said the $900 million price was too high.
Giunchigliani, 58, said it wasn’t just the high price. Job one is evaluating UNLV’s stadium needs, she said.
“It wasn’t just the price tag. It morphed into something so big that people said, ‘Whoa,’ what’s the benefit to the university?’” Giunchigliani told the Review-Journal. “This gives people a time to step back. It got so large that everybody lost sight of what people wanted.”
She said she is interested in the local casino-hotel industry’s views on marketing and saturation for the proposed UNLV stadium.
The County Commission voted against George Stevens, the county’s chief financial officer, being on the UNLV stadium board. Instead, commissioners voted unanimously for Giunchigliani.
Giunchigliani said because the proposed stadium site is in her district, she will also report back to local businesses and neighborhoods in the UNLV area.
Next week, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is expected to name its representative to the stadium board. Plus, the governor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader will each appoint a person to the UNLV stadium panel.
That would bring the number to nine, and those nine members will pick two casino executives to finalize the make-up of the 11-member board. Under law, the board has to be convened in October and is required to issue a stadium report to the Nevada Legislature by Sept. 30, 2014.
Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick said Tuesday she wants to talk with the Senate majority leader before she makes her appointment to make sure the UNLV stadium board is “well balanced.”
Meanwhile, the governor’s office is reviewing candidates for its appointment to the stadium board, said spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner.
Besides Giunchigliani, Crear and Wixom, Regent James Dean Leavitt and Don Snyder are members of the UNLV stadium board so far.