Wichita State AD discusses $40 million plan to renovate Cessna Stadium

Changes are coming to the north side of Wichita State University's campus
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:16 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Changes are coming to the north side of Wichita State University’s campus after the Kansas Board of Regents approved a $40 million plan to renovate Cessna Stadium. With the board of regent’s approval, WSU will move forward with designing, planning and fundraising before the project begins.

Wichita State Athletic Director Kevin Saal said it’s the first step toward big things for WSU.

“It’s a wonderful environment to be a part of when you’re transforming facilities and student-athlete experiences,’ Saal said. “And so I think there will be a lot of excitement over that project.”

Cessna Stadium opened in 1946 as the home of the Shocker track and field team. He also was home for Shocker football until the program disbanded about 40 years after the stadium opened. Cessna Stadium will see substantial changes come late 2023.

“It is a substantial project and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, not only to plan, but to fundraise and work our way forward on what will be an absolutely tremendous facility for Wichita from Wichita State University,” Saal said.

The new stadium would seat about 10,000 people when renovations are complete. This would include new aluminum bleacher seating at the north and south ends of the track. That track itself would be expanded.

“We have 250 student athletes at Wichita State and about 110 of them are on our track and field program, so it’s one of our largest programs and certainly has the programming needs,” Saal said.

Renovations would also make room for a soccer field.

“It would still be a 400-meter track, it would just be a wider oval so that we could stick a regulation-size soccer facility inside (Cessna Stadium),” Saal said. “The idea is that down the road, we want to create a pathway for ourselves to potentially create women’s soccer as an intercollegiate athletic sport at Wichita State.”

WSU intends to complete the Cessna Stadium project in phases, meaning it likely will be a few years before renovations are complete. There is no set date for that to happen.

“Those are all details that will be ironed out as we sequence and work on timelines with our design development team,” Saal said.