Construction to start on practice fields, gardens near stadium site

Plans to begin completing the grounds of the new on-campus stadium will be put in motion when construction starts Saturday, Oct. 15, on adjacent practice fields and an Agricultural Heritage Garden, with additional investment in the existing arboretum, a unique collection of trees that have stood on campus for 35 years.

One and a half full football fields will be constructed as a practice field with synthetic turf to the west of the new stadium. The fields provide an opportunity for efficient connections among practice facilities, and training and locker room areas in the stadium. The existing practice fields near Moby are proposed to be re-purposed to expand facilities for other athletic programs.

“The project team has worked hard to preserve funds in the stadium budget to provide the resources to construct the practice fields,” said Joe Parker, director of Athletics. “It’s an important addition to the overall project and brings key components together to operate the football program.”

Gardens to serve as gateway

In addition, an Agricultural Heritage Garden will serve as a gateway to the stadium, with plantings to celebrate and demonstrate the university’s agricultural heritage. Plans for the garden are still under development.

“The vision for the Heritage Garden is to tell the story of Colorado agriculture and Colorado State University’s role within it,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Our goal is to highlight and inform the visiting public, students and alumni about the history, nature and impact of agricultural research, teaching and engagement at CSU. We envision this space to speak to our university’s efforts to be Colorado focused for global impact across all dimensions of the food, water and energy nexus.”

Both the field and gardens will be constructed on part of existing parking lot #240 and the old perennial gardens site. The perennial gardens have been moved to the University Center for the Arts to complement a growing university art and garden district, which already includes the university’s trial gardens, a popular destination in the city.

The existing 5.5-acre arboretum near the new stadium will be enhanced with additional paths and tree identification guides. Many trees in the arboretum are more than 35 years old and were planted under the leadership of Jim Klett, a Horticulture and Landscape Architecture professor who has dedicated several decades to creating and nurturing the arboretum and perennial gardens to serve as research, academic and public education resources to the university. The arboretum was planted to demonstrate the vast diversity of trees that grow well in Colorado’s climate.

The fields and garden are slated to be completed by the time the stadium opens in 2017.

Parking, one-way connector road impact

Construction will impact existing parking in lot #240, with construction closing about 90 of the existing 258 spots. In addition, a temporary one-way connector road linking Pitkin Street to Lake Street will be rerouted. That road will be replaced next spring when a rerouting of Meridian Avenue will open, with a new section of the road being built to the east of the stadium.

“We recognize that closing the temporary connector road would impact access and traffic flow on the southwest side of campus,” said Fred Haberecht, assistant director of Facilities Management.

The road will be rerouted and impacted parking will close the evening of Oct. 14, with construction beginning in the area immediately.