Ranch & Coast Magazine

September 2022

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Page 102 of 115

says. "ere's no reason to build a stadium and pour $130 million into it and use it seven times a year, so I really wanted to make sure that we built something that could be used [every day]." From the structure itself to the seating bowl, concessions to premium spaces, the stadium was created with this goal in mind. Also atop Wicker's list of priorities was honoring the stadium's place, both geographically and in the history of San Diego. "We told the architects we wanted … 60 percent stadium — seats, the field, concourses, that sort of thing — but then I wanted it to be 40 percent 'San Diego,'" he says. "We've really taken a nod toward the community. We're in Mission Valley, it's Kumeyaay land, it used to be a dairy farm, there's this phenomenal 50-year history with the stadium prior, so there are a lot of different pieces in the building that I think people will find special and be able to attach to because it is so 'Southern California.'" From that inspiration, the stadium's Sycuan Piers, three levels of elevated, standing room only "seating" that jut out over the seating bowl in the southwest corner, are intended to mimic San Diego's piers extending into the ocean. A statue of Jack Murphy and his dog Abe that greeted fans at the former stadium that once bore his name now has pride of place outside Snapdragon's north end. Nearby, the northeast corner features pavers that are actually concrete chunks from the old building. And additional elements honor the site's lengthy history as host of Super Bowls, World Series, concerts, and other unforgettable events in San Diego. Tributes to military, murals by local and student artists, and even some SDSU history (meet the SDSU Wampus Cat!) are incorporated to bring together an array of elements that make Snapdragon a destination for all San Diegans. Of course, as part of the SDSU campus, students were a significant consideration in the creation of the stadium. "We want them to be a huge part of this," says Tom Greene, SDSU Athletics Ticket Sales Director. Five thousand of the stadium's 35,000 seats will be allocated for student seating at every home football game. Some of that space will be what's known as "safe standing" — a product often used in European soccer stadiums that encourages spectators to (surprise!) stand and cheer for their team. "at speaks to how bullish we are on soccer. e Wave and other teams that will play [here] can utilize that as a supporter section built in, but we also think that for our students, it's going to be a ton of fun," says Greene, who hopes the section will generate a similar energy to the school's ardent basketball fans, nicknamed "e Show," who ignite Viejas Arena. Students will be able to use their campus meal plan cards (alcohol excluded, of course) at the stadium's concessions, which include signature San Diego eateries like Best Pizza & Brew, Cali BBQ, e Crack Shack, Everbowl, Gaglione Brothers, Hodad's, e Taco Stand, and Batch & Box. As the opening approaches, Wicker tempers his enthusiasm with just enough practicality. "I think the big thing is for people to be patient with us," he says. "ere'll be some hiccups the first couple games, the first year, but it is going to be such a dynamic experience for everyone, and I'm just excited for everybody to get in and have a chance to see it." snapdragonstadium.com ranchandcoast.com @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2022 103 "It's very representative of San Diego and Southern California," says SDSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics David Wicker of the brand- new, purpose-built Snapdragon Stadium

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