mission valley construction

Steel’s Up!

By Jeff Ristine | Photograph by Sandy Huffaker

July 21, 2021


Aztec Stadium is starting to take shape at the SDSU Mission Valley site — with construction on track for the Aztecs’ Sept. 3, 2022 home opener against the Arizona Wildcats.

The first structural steel columns for the 35,000-capacity venue went up in May, starting with the south side, and steel construction concluded when the final beam was placed in a topping-out ceremony on July 14. Concrete blocks for future concession stands also went up in May. This work is mirrored by final demolition on San Diego Stadium, including the removal of its 1,450 supporting steel piles from 70 to 100 feet underground.

The remains of concrete poured in 1966 — 125,000 cubic yards — is being recycled along with parking-lot asphalt and kept for use as fill and hardscape. That’s a key point, says Director of Construction James Cleaton, in achieving LEED Neighborhood Development for SDSU Mission Valley. (The Aztec Stadium project is also on track for LEED Gold certification.) The mammoth pile of rubble, known affectionately on-site as Mount Aztec, will be used to help lift the development site above the San Diego River and Murphy Canyon Creek floodplains, then later as a base for future streets and other hardscape.

The stadium is the focal point for 2021-22 construction, the first component of a redevelopment boom that will include space for research and collaboration, a river park, housing, shops and a hotel. Preparation for those future phases of SDSU Mission Valley is also underway. “We’re putting in the initial infrastructure to allow for up to 4,600 residential units and an Innovation District,” Cleaton says. “All of those need sewer, water and electrical, and fiber optic cable.”

By the Numbers:

Amount of the old San Diego Stadium that’s being recycled.

2 million:
Square feet of asphalt that has been removed and crushed to be reused on site.

Gift from Ben Clay (’69) and Nikki Clay (’67, ’72, ’21 LHD), in support of the river park.

Acres of total park and open space at the site.

Nearly 70:
Varieties of California and San Diego native plants, trees, shrubs and grass that will be planted on site.

Square feet of available roof space located throughout SDSU Mission Valley that will incorporate solar panels.