The Daily Aztec

SDSU hires firm to design stadium concept

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by Angelica Wallingford, Staff Writer

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San Diego State has hired architectural firm Populous to work on a design concept of a 35,000 seat hybrid multi-use soccer and football stadium.

The announcement came shortly after the Friends of SDSU group announced Sept. 28 their intention to move forward with a ballot initiative to authorize the sale of most of the SDCCU Stadium site to SDSU.

“We believe that a San Diego State-led development of the Qualcomm site, centered around an SDSU west campus and then complemented with other public and private development uses, is in the community’s best interest and the region’s best interest,” said Fred Pierce, Friends of SDSU spokesman.

Pierce said the development of an SDSU west campus is a worthy use of the site of the aging football stadium.

“If you look around the country — frankly, if you look around the world — the nation’s most thriving economies all have one major thing in common, and that is they have a highly-educated workforce,” he said. “And that starts with universities. Just imagine what San Diego’s economy would be like if San Diego State and UC San Diego did not exist.”

Friends of SDSU’s 24-person steering committee is composed of a “group of influential friends of the university,” including former university presidents Elliot Hirshman, Stephen Weber and Thomas Day, Pierce said.

SDSU Athletic Director John Wicker said it’s possible that San Diego could have two stadium-related ballot initiatives in November, going up against FS Investors-backed SoccerCity— a proposed “versatile” stadium that could possibly host a Major League Soccer team, as well as other entertainment.

In order for that to happen, Friends of SDSU will need to gather at least 71,000 signatures to get their initiative on the 2018 ballot.

The organization will begin the signature-gathering process after a 21-day public notice period following their announcement of the initiative, Pierce said.

After that, they will have 180 days to gather the necessary signatures, he said.

“I expect we’ll have it way, way quicker than that,” Pierce said.

Wicker said the goal will be for a new stadium to be part of SDSU West— so the university’s football team will be able to play on campus for the first time since leaving Aztec Bowl in 1967.

“We are working on the stadium concept right now, the university is working on what their site plan for Mission Valley would look like, so we’re working with that group to make sure we’ve got the seating correct with where we would want the stadium,” Wicker said.

The budget for the potential stadium has been set at $150 million, $60 million less than SoccerCity. Wicker also said that even though the concepts are not finished yet, the SDSU stadium design will be more versatile than its Soccer City counterpart.

“We don’t have a finished concept yet, but our stadium is going to be more multi-use, looking at size, looking at football and soccer,” he said.

Populous, which was only hired to design the stadium — not the west campus master plan — is responsible for designing Petco Park, along with numerous MLS stadiums and collegiate stadiums.

SDSU alumnus and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer threw his support behind the SoccerCity initiative earlier this year and said there is still plenty of time for all stakeholders to come together to discuss options.

“I’ve always said very clearly there is a seat at the table for San Diego State and I’m going to insist on that, not only in the beginning but at the end of the process,” Faulconer said during a Sept. 22 interview. “It’s that important.”

Wicker said information renderings for the stadium will come at the end of November, while the site plans will be released later this year or in early 2018. SDSU has also been in talks with the city to extend the lease on Qualcomm Stadium until at least 2022.

 

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