SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego State University's effort to construct a new stadium in Mission Valley received a massive backing Thursday.
SDSU officials announced a $15-million donation on behalf of local philanthropist Dianne Bashor. The gift is the lead donation toward the stadium project and one of the single largest ever made to the school, officials said.
"I think the students and people of San Diego benefit from everything we do with this property," Basher said during a press conference Thursday. "My husband and I always felt when we get things, we give things. And I'm going to continue to do this as long as I'm able to do it."
University officials added that the stadium will be named "Bashor Field" at Aztec Stadium, after its lead donor.
"Mrs. Dianne Bashor is known for her generous community support, and her gift reflects the close relationship between the San Diego community and San Diego State University," SDSU President Adela de la Torre said. "This is an extraordinary gift and an important investment in the future of SDSU."
In November, the City Council voted unanimously to move forward with the process to allow the university to buy the Mission Valley land. SDSU has offered the city $86.2 million to purchase the 132-acres that encompasses SDCCU Stadium.
The land was appraised at $68.2 million by David Davis, a certified appraiser hired jointly by the city and SDSU. The university original offered the city $68.2 million, but revised its offer after taking into consideration comments by the City Council.
The college plans to build a new stadium for Aztec football that could seat up to 35,000 attendees and develop the surrounding area with mixed-use retail and housing, a $25-million bridge on Fenton Parkway, and redevelop the 34-acre river park land.
According to the university, it would cost at least $30 million to construct the river park and nearly $600,000 a year to maintain the park. SDSU says the park is designed to accept 100-year flood conditions and accommodate any overflow from nearby Murphy Canyon Creek.
Demolition of the existing stadium is expected to cost $10-$15 million, SDSU says.
University officials add that the stadium project could be altered to expand for up to 50,000 seats in the event that the NFL decides to return to San Diego.
SDSU still needs approval from the California State University Board of Trustees on the stadium's environmental impact report, campus master plan, and draft sale agreement. The school is zeroing in on March 2020 to close escrow on the sale.
SDSU intends to break ground on the site in 2020 and complete the redevelopment by the mid-2030s. The school hopes to open the stadium in time for the 2022 NCAA football season.
Voters approved the plan, known as SDSU Mission Valley, last November, allowing the city to negotiate the sale of the land with San Diego State.