SDSU hires firm to design Mission Valley stadium

SAN DIEGO -- The Kansas City-based architectural firm that designed Petco Park has been retained by San Diego State University to begin initial planning a multi-purpose stadium in Mission Valley, SDSU athletic officials confirmed Thursday.

A conceptual design and cost study could be presented by Populous by the beginning of December. The firm also created a rendering for an NFL stadium for the Chargers before the pro football team left for Los Angeles.

With the Chargers gone, SDSU Athletic Director John David Wicker has publicly bandied about the idea of a 35,000-seat, expandable structure to replace what's now known as SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley at a cost of around $150 million.

The announcement of Populous' hiring comes about a week after a group of SDSU boosters revealed plans for a citizens initiative that would lead to the school acquiring most of the stadium property. The land would generally be used for campus expansion, with space set aside for a stadium that would also host soccer and other events.

Populous designed Petco Park, which opened in 2004 and is generally considered to be one of the top five Major League Baseball facilities. It has also worked on several recent high-profile collegiate projects, including Baylor's McLane Stadium, a redevelopment of Kyle Field at Texas A&M and an expansion of the stadium at Kansas State University.

SDSU's lease to play at municipally owned SDCCU Stadium is scheduled to expire after the 2018 season, and university officials have been negotiating an extension to give it time to build the replacement.

The initiative being pushed by school supporters would also likely need to surpass a vote total of the ballot measure for the SoccerCity project.

SDSU and the SoccerCity promoters, led by FS Investors of La Jolla, were unable to reach agreement on sharing the Mission Valley property. Aside from needing a new stadium, university leaders have eyed the land for years for campus expansion.