Stadium project takes shape




sible progress can be seen on Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium as steel structures cast their shadows on the seats of Coughlin Alumni Stadium, which has been the home of SDSU football for the past 52 years.

Justin Sell, director of athletics, said that the construction project is on track to open in the fall of 2016.

“Everything is moving along very nicely. … We started last August and we’re looking at having construction in and around the stadium until the fall of 2016 until it’s done. There’s certain elements, like the east and south seating, that have to be done before next fall because we need places for people to sit. But, there will be work continued through the fall just to keep that process going so we can make sure we are open on time in 2016,” Sell said.

The project is also on track to stay within the $65 million budget. Although Sell could not give a specific value for the amount of money that has been spent on the project to date, he emphasized that the project is still on track to be completed on the $65 million budget.

“It’s [the budget] $65 million and that’s the max. That includes construction costs and soft costs,” Sell said. “What we’ve spent so far, I have no idea because you’ve got things continually going out to bid and a lot of them are a long lead time, so steel and rebar and concrete and that, so I don’t think we even know exactly where it’s at. I’m sure someone in Facilities and Services probably keeps track on some ledger but I don’t.”

Sell broke the fundraising efforts down into two separate categories. The first source of funds for this project came from private fundraising efforts. The private fundraising efforts account for $27 million. The rest of the funding came from the sale of revenue bonds. The university sold these bonds with a payback period of 25 years and Sell mentioned that a lot of the money needed to repay these bonds has already been raised.

“The bonds get paid back through suite sales, premium seating, low seats, club seats, season tickets. There’s a whole host of revenue streams that go back into paying the bonds over that 25 years. So we’ve obviously already sold a lot of that inventory that’s going to pay those bonds,” Sell said.

Some of the people buying the tickets that generate the revenue to repay the bonds may be alumni of the university. One student expressed interest in returning to SDSU to see the new stadium.

“I think it’s great, it will make game day more exciting for fans and players. I just wish it would’ve happened sooner so I could enjoy it as an undergrad, but knowing the new stadium will be complete gives me more reasons to come back and visit,” Blake Willman, a senior agriculture business major, said.

Both Sell and head football coach John Stiegelmeier commented about the support the whole university receives from Dana Dykhouse, whose name will be on the new stadium.

 “Dana was a former football player here and has been a terrific supporter of our entire university. He’s involved the foundation, board of directors — he’s been really engaged in helping do things for our school. Obviously being a former student athlete, he’s very in tune with trying to help our athletic program. His son Dan played football here, graduated in, I think, ’07. His wife, LaDawn, was a Dakota Deb with the Pride and the flag group, so their whole family has been engaged ever since he left school here,” Sell said. “He recognizes it [Coughlin Alumni] is 52 years old, we have to do something. He was a huge, huge part of getting this thing kicked off and going. We’re very proud that his name’s on it.”

“… Dana and his family have been true Jackrabbits in terms of their support, in terms of presence — being places, attending things, presence — their support, in terms of vocal supporters, and obviously, things get built because they’re financial supporters. … He’s connected with Denny Sanford, with First Premier Banks and he’s a great friend of SDSU athletics, SDSU — he’s been part of the foundation — and SDSU football,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium will have a capacity of 19,300 attendants, which is 8,300 more than the capacity of Coughlin Alumni Stadium. Stiegelmeier said the additional seats will have a positive impact on the football program. But he also stated that the full extent of the impact would not be known until the project is complete.

“The impact for the football program will be the energy they can give to the game-day, the pressure they can put on an opposing team with noise, I mean that happens all the time in programs that are supported by fans that truly understand their impact,” Stiegelmeier said. “Our fans have been like that, so go from 11,000 – and we’ve had 16,000 out here – but go from an average of 11,000 to an average of 19,000, it’s going to be great, it’s going to be huge. Just walking out of the tunnel and seeing the stands full, seeing that many people gets you ready to go.”