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Fresno State Unveils ‘Elevate’ Campaign to Raise $250M for Sports Facilities



The Fresno State Athletics Master Plan includes a football stadium renovation concept. (Fresno State Athletics screenshot)
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Fresno State announced Tuesday a new plan to raise more than $250 million to modernize the university’s athletic facilities, including Valley Children’s Stadium.

These upgrades, university officials say, are needed for the Bulldogs to compete and win at the national level.

“The extent of our facilities upgrades is dependent upon securing the necessary funding. This type of investment in Fresno State’s future opens the doors to limitless opportunities for the university, on and off the court, as well as our entire region.— Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval

“The time is now,” Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval said in a news release about the Elevate Campaign. “For over a century, Fresno State athletics has rallied the Valley, uniting people from all walks of life behind a common cause and generating excitement about our university. Just as our winning teams fuel passion and pride in our fan base, they also fuel interest in future students near and far, giving them a pathway to become familiar with the university. In addition, our teams are the gateway to national and international brand recognition.”

The 23-page Fresno Athletic Masterplan prepared by the Bulldog Foundation creates three areas for improvements: the Stadium District with the football stadium, Duncan Athletic Building, Ricchiuti Weight Room and Academic Center, and Baseball Clubhouse; the Cedar District with tennis clubhouse, softball and baseball stadiums, aquatics center, and track and soccer team facilities; and the Save Mart Center and Horse Centers with the Save Mart Center and equestrian arena.

The university’s announcement comes as local developer Richard Spencer and others are gearing up a campaign to convince Fresno County voters to approve a .25%, 25-year sales tax to benefit Fresno State academics and athletics. Voters rejected the first Measure E in November’s election.

The new Measure E is projected to raise $1.4 billion, which would be divided into one-third for athletics ($462 million) and two-thirds for academics ($938 million).

Funding to Include Private Support

The university says it is exploring several “innovative” sources of funding, including private support, to bankroll the proposed athletics facilities modernization.

“The extent of our facilities upgrades is dependent upon securing the necessary funding,” Jiménez-Sandoval says. “This type of investment in Fresno State’s future opens the doors to limitless opportunities for the university, on and off the court, as well as our entire region.”

Watch: Fresno State Wants to Elevate Its Game

Athletics director Terry Tumey said in the news release that the Bulldogs’ success will depend on community support.

“Ascension to the level we envision requires regional investment. To complete all of the much-needed facilities enhancements identified in this master plan, it will take a significant investment from everyone associated with our university,” Tumey says. “This campaign will not only enhance our ability to provide championship experiences for our dedicated student-athletes and the Red Wave — but, perhaps most importantly, it will ensure that Fresno State, with our storied tradition of athletic success, is positioned to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics nationally while further shining a bright light on the entire Central Valley region we so proudly serve.”

According to the master plan, improvements to the football stadium would include a new hydrotherapy room in the Duncan building exclusively used by the football team, a new 10-meter dive tower and video board at the aquatics center, spectator decks at the softball and baseball stadiums, and a new roof at the equestrian center to provide shade and weather protection.

Football Stadium Improvements

It’s clear from the master plan projects that the bulk of the funding would pay for improvements at the football stadium, including:

  • A new premium club tower and club level, with access to upgraded food and beverage options and climate-controlled club lounges, allowing for “more flexible and luxury game and event day experience.”
  • Southwest loge seating on the concourse level that would be a “middle pricing option” between club/luxury box and standard seating.
  • A new press box.
  • North end zone loge seats and a new video board.
  • New gateway entrances and plazas.

The university said construction will occur in phases as funding for each phase is secured.

Concept for the Fresno State Athletics Master Plan South Gateway to the football stadium. (Fresno State Athletics screenshot)

Fresno Athletic MasterPlan

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email