Snapdragon Stadium

San Diego



Submitted by: Clark Construction Group

Owner: San Diego State University

Lead Design Firm: Gensler

General Contractor: Clark Construction

Civil Engineer: Project Design Consultants, a Bowman Company

Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates

MEP Engineer: TK1SC

Electrical Engineer: Smith Seckman Reid Inc.

Electrical Lighting: ME Engineers; Illume

Landscape Architect: Spurlock

Waterproofing: WSP

Code Consultant: Howe Engineers

Low Voltage: WJHW

Hardware: Studio Eight Consultants

Subcontractors: ACCO; Baker Electric; Kimble and Co.; Pacific Southwest Structures; Schuff Steel; Trimark

From concerts to NCAA championship games, collegiate football and soccer and even professional soccer and rugby, San Diego State University’s new 35,000-person capacity multiuse venue will see ample service in the coming years. This first part of the university’s campus expansion in Mission Valley sets the stage for future phases that will include a world-class university research and innovation district, a community river park and housing.

Through a collaborative design-build effort, the $310-million Snapdragon Stadium reached completion on budget and within an aggressive two-year schedule in August 2022. Clark Construction and Gensler partnered with SDSU at design kickoff in January 2019, racing through schematic design to permitting in just 17 months.

SnapDragon Stadium

Photo courtesy of Clark Construction

“This project is a testament that construction is a team sport,” says Albert Valdivia, vice president at Clark. “With everyone working toward the goal of winning together, we delivered a high-quality venue for SDSU and the greater San Diego community.”

Fan experience and ample space for social gathering drove parts of the design. It features three types of suites, eight versions of lounge seating and five sponsored social spaces.

“We never would have been able to deliver this much value to the university and community without true partnerships between Gensler, Clark and SDSU,” says Steve Chung, design director and principal at Gensler.

More than 250 firms contributed to the stadium. On average, 300 craftworkers a day from 15 different trade partners put into place about $8 million in work per month. Across more than 1 million worker hours, the project team recorded no lost-time accidents and an OSHA recordable incident rate of 0.92.

SnapDragon Stadium

Photo courtesy of Clark Construction

Although Qualcomm Stadium was originally going to remain standing until Snapdragon’s completion, then be imploded, the pandemic struck and canceled the 2020 season. Realizing an opportunity, the project team shifted to conventional demolition instead, generating cost savings and shaving two months off the schedule.

Given the project’s location in a 100-year floodplain, scope included extensive site preparations, raising the ground by as much as 35 ft in some areas. Crews placed 150,000 cu yd of dirt infill across the site, or 40,000 truckloads, averaging 115 trucks daily and peaking at 400.

SnapDragon Stadium

Photo courtesy of Clark Construction

A total of 30,000 cu yd of concrete supports the 2,500 steel beams that shape the stadium. Drones flew over the site daily, capturing photos to overlay with finished drawings and topographic views to help determine infill amounts and delivery schedules.

Meanwhile, sustainable efforts integrated into Snapdragon’s footprint include solar panels and a vehicular bridge that creates a continuous path for sensitive wildlife.

“For many of us who are SDSU alumni, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the university’s legacy, and we are most proud to be a part of it,” says Carlos Gonzalez, division president at Clark.