CSU’S NEW STADIUM IS “A REALITY NOW”
CSU shows off its new stadium, and there is plenty of great stuff to see
COLLINS» Joe Parker walked FORT through the front doors with about 30 following behind Tuesday, his voice recorded on five microphones clamped to the collar of his white, ironed shirt, as he played tour guide for the first public glimpse inside Colorado State’s nearly finished on-campus football stadium.
The Rams’ athletic director has more than two decades of experience working in college sports, aiding in stadium renovations at Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan along the way, but never quite in this role — parading a $220 million project he inherited four months after it was approved in 2015 to a large group of reporters from across the Front Range.
“That’s a first for me,” Parker said in the shadow of a green CSU cap while standing beneath the sun on Sonny Lubick Field.
As it will be again for kickoff against Oregon State on Aug. 26 when the collective eyes of the college football world will descend upon Fort Collins. The opening game of the season nationwide. Parker hopes viewers come to agree with what he has believed all along.
“In many ways, we probably built the best stadium in America,” he said.
The structure that stands 123 feet tall at its peak and covers 17.56 acres on the southwest side of the main campus was bustling with activity Tuesday as workers completed its final touches. CSU enlisted the help of Kansas City, Mo.-based architect Populous, whose college football stadium clients include Kansas State (2015), Texas A&M (2015), Baylor (2014) and Minnesota (2009). Bennet Stindt was among the original Populous designers to develop CSU’s project, and said, “One of the unique things about this stadium and the size allowed us to have very unique, premium amenities to it.”
A few examples as seen Tuesday:
In terms of football operations, each step of the player experience is connected beneath the west stands.
A 9,100-square-foot weight room with equipment customized to CSU’s strength program is adjacent to a fueling station for preand postworkout nutrition. Down the hall is an 11,000-square-foot sports medicine facility that can accommodate up to 60 athletes at once including training tables, rehab stations, cold/hot tubs and a therapy pool.
It’s also short walk to a locker room with ventilated stalls equipped with several power outlets, a team meeting space with 150 leather green-and-gold seats, and positional rooms just across the hallway. Players and recruits also have access to a lounge filled with leather couches, TVs and two pool tables.
“It’s a reality now,” third-year CSU coach Mike Bobo said. “We came in last week as a staff, but it really hit home this week when the players came over on Sunday. I think I saw more guys yesterday than I did the first two years when it wasn’t practice time or team meetings.”
No matter a fan’s location in the stadium, there are few places without a clear view of the action. In addition to a high-definition video screen on the south end that stretches 50 feet wide and 84 feet tall, an open air concourse rarely blocks view of the field when fans leave their seats.
“They’ll always feel like they’re embedded in the game experience,” Parker said.
Among the finer details discovered Tuesday were painted above the concession stands that wrap the concourse. White mountains are set to a green sky where the names and likenesses of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners are identified throughout.
“That was very intentional,” Parker said. “You look of points of pride to speak to the entire state of Colorado. That’s one thing when I arrived that people talked about all the time, the fourteeners in the state. That’s unique to Colorado, so it just made sense to use that concept.”
The public will have an opportunity to view in person the on-campus stadium from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 5 as part of CSU’s Community Open House. More information and free tickets can be found at csurams.com/footballgameday.
“People haven’t even experienced the building,” Parker said. “It would be my expectation that once they actually get in and use it, they’re going to feel even more comfortable about what we’ve done as a university.”
Colorado State will officially open its new football stadium Aug. 26 in a game against Oregon State of the Pac-12.
Athletic director Joe Parker predicts CSU fans will like what they see when they enter the facility.
Ben Knox, a 6-foot-6, 325-pound offensive lineman who transferred from Independence (Kan.) Community College, enjoys the Rams’ new digs in the locker room.
CSU players will get to soak in the hydrotherapy tubs at their new, on-campus stadium.