Wichita State University approved to demolish Cessna Stadium
The Kansas Board of Regents approved a request from Wichita State University on Wednesday to raze Cessna Stadium, 9-0.
The 30,000-seat stadium was constructed in 1946 and renovated in 1969 as a football and track facility. It is the home of Wichita State track and field and the annual Kansas State High School Track and Field Championship.
Wichita State says the stadium is now in poor condition and has outlasted the typical lifespan of exposed steel structures. The university points to a 2017 study that indicated the stadium needed significant steel repair and more than $100,000 was invested for immediate safety repairs.
The university says the stadium continues to be exposed to the elements, would require extensive repairs and is a continuing public safety concern. Plus, it is not ADA compliant.
“Seeking permission from the Kansas Board of Regents is the first step in any process as a state institution,” said Wichita State Athletics Director Darron Boatright. “We believe demolition is the best course of action when and if funding sources are identified. We look forward to continuing our relationship with KSHAA and hosting the state track meet as well as track and field meets for our program.”
The university suggests demolishing the stadium in two phases. Phase 1 would include the east stands. Phase 2 include the west stands and press box "to allow track activities to continue until a new, smaller multi-purpose stadium is built on the site serving both men’s and women’s athletics and the regional community and economy by supporting soccer, lacrosse, and track and field events for both Wichita State University as well as K-12 aged tournaments from around the Midwest/Southwest in partnership with regional clubs."
The track will remain.
The cost of razing the building is estimated at approximately $1.4 million ($625,000 for the east stands and $775,000 for the west stands). Private funds and restricted fee funds would cover the cost, according to Wichita State. There is no current start date for the project.
The university says opportunities will be explored to re-use any materials that can be salvaged from the demolition.