A rendering of a garden area inside Aztec Stadium. Image by Gensler & Associates.

Preview the Stadium and River Park Plans

Designs will reflect San Diego and offer spaces for community.

By Jeff Ristine

June 15, 2020

A multi-use stadium for sporting events and concerts, with local restaurants and food trucks, vibrant garden areas and standing-room “piers” that evoke a coastal vibe.

That’s the vision for Aztec Stadium, slated to be among the first projects on the SDSU Mission Valley campus. Now it’s one step closer to reality after The California State University Board of Trustees approved the design and financing plan for the 35,000-capacity stadium in late March.

San Diego State University continues to work with the City of San Diego toward completing the purchase of the land. [Update: On June 30, the City Council approved a purchase and sale agreement.]

“We designed the stadium with the entire community in mind,” says John David Wicker, SDSU director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “We want every person in San Diego to have a reason to come.”

The signature element will be The Piers, he says. Inspired by the San Diego coastline, they will offer standing room to view the field, with one section that juts out over seating. Wicker envisions people renting out the space or, as the rest of the campus gets developed, gathering for social events.

The stadium will include San Diego-specific design features throughout, such as references to the ancestral homelands of the Kumeyaay people and to the dairy farms that once filled Mission Valley. Landscaping will reflect various regions of the city, including canyon-inspired areas. “The furniture will feel very Southern California, very outdoors,” Wicker adds.

Developed concurrently with the stadium, an environmentally-conscious River Park is part of more than 80 acres of open space in SDSU Mission Valley. Glen Schmidt of Schmidt Design Group, landscape architect for the project, says input from community and environmental groups influenced park details and “improved our design decisions.”

For example, there was a lot of interest in active play, so the park includes six multi-use fields. A “ribbon of shade”—50 feet wide and 900 feet long under the existing elevated trolley track—will run along the property’s south side with picnic areas, fitness and basketball courts, a skateboard area and ping pong tables. An eastern section will have space for dogs and kids to run. Pedestrian and bike trails will encircle the entire property. An amphitheater hill may host live performances.

“We look forward to more San Diegans being part of the everyday campus experience,” says Gina Jacobs, associate vice president of Mission Valley Development, “whether it be through enjoying music or theater in the amphitheater or the opportunity to learn about the site’s history and biology along the many trails through the restored riparian environment.”

A rendering of The Piers area at Aztec Stadium, with standing room views of the field.

A rendering of The Piers area at Aztec Stadium, with standing room views of the field. Image by Gensler & Associates.

*Banner photo credit: A rendering of a garden area inside Aztec Stadium. Image by Gensler & Associates. 

Stadium Receives $15M Gift

Three things to know about donor Mrs. Bashor

Aerial view of Aztec Stadium

An aerial view of the stadium. Image by Gensler & Associates.

San Diego philanthropist Mrs. Dianne L. Bashor donated a $15 million lead gift toward the construction of Aztec Stadium in December 2019.

“This gift is a commitment to not only a great university, but the San Diego community,” Mrs. Bashor says. SDSU will name the stadium’s field Bashor Field in honor of her generosity. Here’s a look at the woman behind the gift.

She loves her community.

Mrs. Bashor and her late husband, Jim Bashor, are known for their significant gifts to many local institutions including the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego-Imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Neither attended SDSU.

She loves sports.

In addition to Aztec football and basketball, Mrs. Bashor follows the teams at USC, Mr. Bashor’s alma mater. She’s a Los Angeles Chargers fan and would love to see an NFL team back in San Diego one day.

She has a day named after her.

In September 2019, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors proclaimed Dianne Bashor Day for her generosity and dedication to the community.

“SDSU is fortunate to have a generous friend in Mrs. Dianne Bashor,” says Vice President for University Relations and Development Adrienne Vargas. “Her gift is a reaffirmation that after more than 123 years, this university continues to earn widespread support.”

Mrs. Bashor receives a jersey during an Aztecs men’s basketball game on Feb. 11.

Mrs. Bashor receives a jersey during an Aztecs men’s basketball game on Feb. 11.