In August 2005, construction began on the 70-year-old Mustang Stadium to build a newly-designed Mustang Memorial Plaza where Week of Welcome events, commencement ceremonies and football and soccer games will continue to be held.
The stadium, which sits on the west part of campus between the business building and campus offices, has a tentative completion date of August 2006. Construction will not hinder Cal Poly Open House events, athletics director Alison Cone said.
When completed, the new stadium will hold 10,000 people – 1,500 more than the previous stadium, Cone said, “and will include amenities such as elevators (and) restrooms,” something the previous rented seats did not offer. The stadium will also include a press area, coaching, radio and television booths, special box seating and an upgraded playing field with lighting.
“Our senior season will be the first to play for it (the stadium),” said Sharon Day, a junior who plays for the women’s soccer team. “That’ll be really cool for us.”
There were a number of reasons to renovate the stadium, Cone said. “It’s the one place that will hold everyone. It was not of the quality that other buildings on campus were.”
We have a really competitive football team,” Cone said. “They needed a first-class venue to compete in.”
The approximate cost of phase one is $21.5 million, Cone said.
In August 2004, Cal Poly alumnus Alex G. Spanos donated $4 million to the stadiums’ renovation, according to a California State University Web site article.
The donation “is the largest single gift in the history of Cal Poly athletics,” the article said.
“We have two major donors and a number of others,” Cone said.
Throughout construction, California Boulevard has been closed to through traffic causing nearby residents, students and vehicles to find a different route to campus.
When construction commences, the C-1 parking lot will become a memorial to the football team of 1960, many of the members lost their lives in a tragic plane crash.
“An important part of the renovation of our stadium is our goal to recognize and honor all of the members of the 1960 football team who perished in a tragic plane crash in Ohio,” said Cal Poly President Warren Baker in an August article.
The plaza will be a memorial to those students and coaches who died. It will be the focal point of the stadium entrance to students, alumni and visitors attending games.
“We feel that permanent recognition on the Cal Poly campus of the young men who lost their lives and lost their friends and teammates is long overdue,” Baker said.