Video by Chapman Croskell
Remarkable. Amazing. Off the charts.
These were the words used by Colorado State University Athletic Director Joe Parker to describe the energy at the open house for the new on-campus stadium.
This event marks the grand opening of the stadium to the public, following the football program moving in in July. The $220 million dollar stadium began construction in fall of 2015 and has been met with mixed reactions on campus and in the city of Fort Collins.
“It’s been a process,” said Jenny Jessup, who graduated from CSU in 2013 with a degree in biology education. “It does re-engage alumni really well. We weren’t big football fans before, but now we’re saying ‘let’s go to a game this year.'”
Jessup said that the new stadium will hopefully encourage her parents, who are alumni from the ’70s, to come watch football games.
The crowd that gathered covered a wide range of Rams, from current students and recent alumni to the children of longtime fans. While the crowd waited for the gates to open, children enjoyed a bounce house and face painting while older fans stood in a line for popsicles from Revolution Artisan Pops that wrapped around a crowd cheering for live music from Brent Cowles.
Cowles told the crowd to enjoy the new stadium as he played with his band on the lawn in front of Aylesworth Hall. The Denver singer/songwriter kept the crowd entertained as many searched in front of the entrance to the stadium for their brick. Over 4,500 bricks were sold to support the new stadium, and patrons could write a message that would be a part of the new legacy.
“It’s great, we’ve got another (brick) up in the library for my dad,” said Joe Kailey, who graduated in 1978 with a degree in mathematics. “I wish (the stadium) was here when I was here. I lived in Newsum, I was within crawling distance.”
The excitement of the crowd grew to a peak as Parker stood in front of the gates, a large pair of scissors in his hands.
“It’s hard to say this is a dedication today,” Parker said. “We’ve been using the building for about six weeks now.”
Parker encouraged visitors to check out the New Belgium Porch and reminded fans to get tickets for the season, mentioning that the first game was already sold out, before cutting the ribbon and inviting the crowd into the stadium. The fans flowed forward, obviously excited to see just what the new stadium was all about.
“Welcome to our on-campus stadium,” Parker said. “We’re excited to share this with you, and go tell 10 or 15 friends this week what you’ve done this weekend.”