Fresno State university has reportedly decided to ditch the planned US$60m renovation project of the aging Bulldog Stadium, and instead opt to upgrade other buildings, including the student-athlete village.
The original proposal from 2015 was scheduled to be completed in four phases by 2019, which would have seen the stadium improve seating, and build new suites and a press box, while renovating concession stands and restrooms. The plans also outlined a new football operations building with team locker room and offices for staff, as well as a ‘Bulldog District’ around the stadium to host pre-game fan activities.
However, the Fresno Bee newspaper claims Bulldog fans will have to continue to wait for an upgrade to the 1980 stadium after a source admitted to shelving the multi-million dollar plan in favor of improving the venue in incremental stages as well as the Robert E Duncan Athletic building.
Fresno State would have joined a list of colleges that are spending big to upgrade or rebuild its facilities in order to attract top players and coaches, which in turn would have encouraged more fans to fill seats and increase revenue.
A deciding factor in the decision to cancel the upgrade to the 41,000-seater stadium may have been it being beset by issues such as an unexplained cracking in the concrete on its east side – something that forced the university to shut the section and which could cost up to US$20m alone to repair.
“We are currently evaluating what we’re doing with the stadium moving forward,” Steve Robertello, interim athletics director, was quoted by the Fresno Bee.
With the Bulldogs’ desire to be competitive in the Mountain West Conference and rebuild a dwindling fan base, the decision will come as a major disappointment and what the university decides to do next will be met undoubtedly with much debate.
January 17, 2018