Wichita State University releases rendering of Cessna stadium renovation
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita State University released a new rendering on Monday for its University Stadium project. The estimated $51 million project includes tearing down the current Cessna Stadium and constructing a venue to accommodate more than 10,000 spectators and include a reconfigured eight-lane track and space for a soccer field.
On Monday, the Wichita State University Board of Trustees approved funding for the first two phases of the renovation of Cessna Stadium.
Phase 1A, with an estimated cost of $11.8 million, is anticipated to begin in August 2023 with improvements on the east side of the existing track. Upgrades include underground utility work, a berm, grass seating area for 2,390 people, new free-standing field lights, a ticket pavilion, restroom/storage buildings, and a plaza.
Phase 1B, anticipated to start in June 2024, includes widening the existing grass field to accommodate a regulation-sized soccer field and reconfiguring the eight-lane track around the widened field. This phase also includes new aluminum bleachers on the north and south sides of the track to seat a total of 3,460 spectators.
WSU said the demolition of the east stands of Cessna Stadium will be handled by a separate small capital project. The university will hold off on the demolition of the west side of the stadium to avoid interruption of high school and Wichita State track and field meets.
Phase 2A includes the demolition of the west side of Cessna Stadium as early as June 2025. In Phase 2B, a new west stadium will be rebuilt to seat 4,190 people. The reconstructed west side of the stadium will also include a single level of press boxes and suites, offices/locker rooms/team room areas for a future soccer team, as well as restrooms, concessions and storage rooms.
Phase 2B also incorporates a pedestrian plaza between Charles Koch Arena and the new stadium to allow for food trucks, merchandise tents and public space adjacent to the stadium.
The total project cost of Phase 2A/2B is approximately $39.5 million. Funding for Phase 2A/2B will be a combination of university funds, private gifts and other local funding sources, Wichita State said.
Wichita State University Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Steve Rainbolt said the plan to demolish the nearly seven-decade-old stadium is bittersweet.
“The structure of the stadium is tired and needs an upgrade, and certainly that’s what the plan is,” he said. “I thin the artist renderings look beautiful for what is getting ready to happen.”
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