Fans will notice new grass, trees and several paved parking lots at games this fall. Additionally, the team's Ram Walk -- upon arriving at the stadium -- will flow through a new fan-friendly plaza.
Aug. 10, 2011
By Tony Phifer
Colorado State University
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Colorado State University Wednesday unveiled the first significant upgrades to the grounds surrounding Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium in the facility's 43-year history.
The months-long project, which started in the spring, includes hundreds of trees and shrubs, improved walkways, an 18-hole disc golf course and a new gate that should help ease traffic congestion. The trees and shrubs - including Colorado blue spruce, Rocky Mountain juniper, ponderosa pine, Scotch pine and others - were transplanted from the nursery at CSU's Colorado State Forest Service headquarters on the Foothills Campus.
"We wanted to improve the experience for our fans at Hughes by upgrading some of the landscaping and circulation around the stadium," CSU President Tony Frank said. "As home to the Colorado State Forest Service, CSU was fortunate to be able to work with its outstanding nursery to plant more than a mile of seedling trees as part of the overall project. In the end, our goal is to create an environment that is welcoming for the community, complements surrounding neighborhoods and better reflects our status as a major university."
More than 300 large trees and numerous shrubs will have been planted when the project is complete. Some will line stadium access roads and pedestrian walkways, while others will beautify the stadium's south side.
Many of the project upgrades are focused on Ram Town, an area on the southeast side of the stadium where fans meet prior to games to enjoy food, live music and a variety of inflatable playgrounds for kids. The area will now feature a large plaza with more than two acres of grass, an amphitheater and an arboretum.
A fifth gate will be added to the southwest corner of the parking lot, giving fans direct access to County Road 42C, which runs along the south side of the facility. The new gate should improve traffic flow.
The new disc golf course should be in place this fall. The 18-hole course is a collaborative project between CSU, the City of Fort Collins and the state, and will be open to the public.
CSU Director of Athletics Paul Kowalczyk has been working to launch this project since arriving in 2006. He credited Frank and football Steve Fairchild for their support.
"Hughes Stadium is in a beautiful setting, right up against the foothills, but it was built in a scruffy field that was not particularly attractive," he said. "This project will present the stadium and the university in the best possible light. We're showing our fans and supporters that we care enough about what we're trying to accomplish here that we're putting our best foot forward to create a better overall experience."
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