Fresno State launched its transformational vision to modernize its athletic facilities on Tuesday, including major renovations to Valley Children’s Stadium.
Named the “Elevate” campaign, the university is looking to raise over $250 million to further the 18 sports programs on campus.
The big picture: Valley Children’s Stadium will be vastly remodeled under the plan, with the focus on a new press box, a premium club tower, improved accessibility to the stadium, multiple new premium seating and social gathering spaces, renovated suites, new video boards and new bathrooms, among other additions.
- The football team, the money-making program for the university, would also receive a fully renovated and expanded Duncan Athletic Building, which would include new locker rooms, meeting spaces and coaches’ offices. The renovated Duncan building will include a nutrition center for all student-athletes.
- The Ricchiuti Academic Center will be renovated to enhance and expand the academic support provided to student-athletes, and the Ricchiuti Strength and Conditioning Center will also be expanded.
- Fresno State’s basketball programs will receive new team offices, and they will also benefit from a new sports performance center at the Save Mart Center.
- Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium will have a new clubhouse for the baseball team and provide a new locker room, team meeting spaces and a hospitality deck for fans.
- Softball at Margie Wright Diamond will receive a hospitality deck as well.
- Along with renovating the existing facilities, the Elevate campaign also plans to build new stadiums for the soccer, track and field and cross country programs at the site of Warmerdam Field. A new dive tower will be built at the aquatics center. A new clubhouse and new scoreboard at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center will also be added. The university is also planning to construct a new covered arena for equestrian and enhance the volleyball facilities.
Go deeper: The university revealed its full master plan for the Elevate campaign, which provides a complete overview of the planned renovations and additions as well as various renderings to show what the facilities will look like.
The backstory: Tuesday’s announcement is the first time Fresno State has unveiled plans to upgrade its aging football stadium under Athletic Director Terry Tumey and University President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval, who have been in their positions since 2018 and 2021, respectively.
- Previously, former Athletic Director Jim Bartko showcased a plan in 2015 to renovate then-Bulldog Stadium, but he was out by the end of 2017 and the plans seemingly went with him.
What we’re watching: Fresno State says it will launch significant fundraising efforts to get the $250 million necessary to complete the projects, and construction will take place in phases as funding is secured.
- The university is asking for private support to achieve its goals, but Fresno State would greatly benefit from another effort at passing Measure E, which is planned for the March 2024 ballot.
- Measure E would impose a 0.25 percent sales tax over a 25-year term on Fresno County, raising 1.403 billion in total – $460 million of which would be allowed to be use for athletics.
- According to the list of projects that Fresno State submitted to the Measure E organizers in March, the school will need $160 million to modernize Valley Children’s Stadium.
What they’re saying: “The extent of our facilities upgrades is dependent upon securing the necessary funding,” Jimenez-Sandoval said. “This type of investment in Fresno State’s future opens the doors to limitless opportunities for the university, on and off the court, as well as our entire region.”
- Tumey called on significant investment from the entire region to make the campaign a reality.
- “This campaign will not only enhance our ability to provide championship experiences for our dedicated student-athletes and the Red Wave – but, perhaps most importantly, it will ensure that Fresno State, with our storied tradition of athletic success, is positioned to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics nationally while further shining a bright light on the entire Central Valley region we so proudly serve,” Tumey said.