"I hate to say it, but this is kind of one of those off-the-wall things. Do we really actually have to have this right now?" he said.
Rathje said he remains optimistic.
"Everywhere I go in town, people want to know when we're going to get it," he said. "But the key thing is funding, so we need a big donor to come forward because this isn't something we can nickel and dime."
— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.