Fresno State Director of Athletics Jim Bartko has presented an update on the department’s progress of the five-point vision he announced in late February and has introduced renovation plans for Bulldog Stadium that will transcend the 35-year-old facility into a new era for Fresno State Athletics.
The conceptual design Bartko revealed called for plans to improve all amenities, enhance the fan experience and modernize Bulldog Stadium where Fresno State has won over 77 percent of its games since it opened in 1980. Bartko said:
This is three months of brainstorming what are the possibilities and coming up with a concept that all parties from the University, to the athletic department, football program and the Red Wave can be excited about.
We will build Bulldog Stadium so it is a place for you and your families to go.
It is not a matter of if or when this happens, it has to happen. We will do this together.
The plans for the stadium overhaul were conceived by AECOM Sports, LLC in conjunction with athletic department officials over the past three months.
As part of the five-point plan, construction is currently taking place at the Spalding Wathen Tennis Center to give the facility new courts, the soccer and lacrosse programs are receiving renovated locker rooms; the basketball and volleyball facilities at the Save Mart Center are undergoing a facelift and just recently completed at the North Gym was the installation of the new practice court. Later on this summer, a new track will be going in at Warmerdam Field.
Head coach Tim DeRuyter said:
This is an extremely exciting time for us in Bulldog football. The vision that Jim [Bartko] and AECOM laid out for the future of Bulldog football is tremendous. This is something that is going to be fantastic for all constituents – the Red Wave, alumni and in particular our future Bulldogs, the recruits we are going after. This shows a big-time commitment and greatly enhances the fan experience.
When this is complete I anticipate this will be the best facility in the Mountain West and with our support from the Red Wave, it will help us solidify our reputation going into the future that Bulldog Stadium is the toughest place to play in the conference.
Fresno State will address the accessibility issues with access tunnels built into the berm and a cross-sectional concourse at the midpoint of the bowl, making it easier for patrons to reach their seats.
Access to restrooms and concessions, and doubling the number of those facilities, is one key area that will improve the fan experience. To further enhance the game day atmosphere Fresno State will be making changes to the tailgating policies and open up hospitality opportunities in the stadium.
The addition of new revenue sources in the form of additional suites, club seats, loge areas, sponsorship displays and the possibility of naming rights can help fund the escalating costs in this current age of intercollegiate athletics.
A new press box will be constructed and a new two-story football facility will go in the south end zone with a HD video board sitting on top of that.
The conceptual design is planned to take place in phases. The first step in that is already underway with the new HD video and ribbon board being installed in the north end zone this summer.
No price tag has been stamped on the project at this point. The Bulldogs will privately fund the project and Athletics will work with the University procurement process and follow CSU System policies.
About Bulldog Stadium
First opened in 1980, the original Bulldog Stadium footprint began construction in June of 1979 for the then 30,000-seat stadium at the price tag of $7 million that was completely privately funded. Fresno State played its first game in Bulldog Stadium on Nov. 25, 1980, a 21-14 win over Montana State. In 1991 Bulldog Stadium underwent a two-phase expansion, which included the addition of more than 10,000 seats – increasing the stadiums capacity to 41,031 — and the construction of 22 sky suites to go with additional restrooms and concession facilities.
Bulldog Stadium played host to the California Raisin Bowl from 1981-91 and it also hosted friendly matches prior to the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
The Bulldogs have gone 165-47-2 (.771) at Bulldog Stadium playing in front of an average crowd of 34,127 over the last 35 full seasons in the stadium. Fresno State has led the Mountain West in attendance in each of the past two seasons and has gone 17-2 at home under head coach Tim DeRuyter.