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The final steel beam for Aztec Stadium was placed on July 14. The final steel beam for Aztec Stadium was placed on July 14.
 


Steel Construction Completed at Aztec Stadium

The final beam, covered with signatures, was put into place during a topping-out ceremony.
By SDSU News Team
 

It is a moment many will discuss for generations: On July 14, San Diego State University and Clark Construction Group held a steel topping-out ceremony for Aztec Stadium, celebrating a major milestone in its construction. 

With the final steel beam hoisted into place on the southeast scoreboard, the structural steel operations for the stadium are now finished, signifying the impressive and rapid progress taking place at SDSU Mission Valley.

In total, more than 2,500 steel beams were placed to support the stadium structure, including this last piece covered with invitees’ signatures. The stadium is on schedule to open in fall 2022, when the Aztec football team will take on the University of Arizona Wildcats in the season home opener on Sept. 3, 2022.

“Today’s construction milestone puts us one major step closer to realizing our vision for SDSU Mission Valley,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “We are just over a year away from welcoming San Diego to its new home for sports and entertainment.”

The topping-out event concludes the first 11 months of construction on Aztec Stadium, an endeavor that continued according to plan despite an unprecedented year filled with unexpected challenges. The ceremony was an opportunity to acknowledge the Clark Construction team, the stadium design team at Gensler Sports, and the many subcontractors dedicated to successfully moving the project forward safely and without delay.

A builders’ rite, a topping-out ceremony is typically held to honor the accomplishments of the craft workers, engineers, designers, and consultants involved, and is a symbolic measure of success celebrated with the installation of the final piece of the structure. In a Scandinavian tradition that is said to date back more than 1,300 years, a small pine tree also was lifted to the top of the structure with the final beam as a temporary ceremonial touch.

Carlos Gonzalez, Southern California division president at Clark Construction Group and SDSU alumnus, kicked off the event acknowledging the more than 2,500 craft workers who advanced the construction to this point and welcoming the next group who will deliver the new stadium.

“We celebrate topping-out of the facility because it’s a construction tradition,” Gonzalez said. “It represents a significant milestone because we go from that raw construction of foundations and structure, and we then go into the next phase of the finishing touches of putting on the materials that you will all see and feel and touch when you come and experience Aztec Stadium.”

“There are many who have helped us reach this point in the construction process,” said SDSU Athletic Director John David Wicker. “I would like to acknowledge the work of our stadium designer, Gensler, and their consultant partners; our general contractor, Clark Construction, and the many subcontractors working on the job; JMI Legends; O'Connor Construction Management; and our own SDSU staff, who have worked diligently in the year that we’ve owned the property to arrive at today’s topping-out ceremony.”

“Aztec Stadium is a community asset,” Wicker said, “and it has been humbling to see not only Aztec alumni and supporters but also community members step up to support our effort.”

While this ceremony marks an important accomplishment in the construction of Aztec Stadium, it is also momentous for the development of SDSU Mission Valley overall. Progress toward the completion of the new stadium signals work to come on construction of the River Park, followed by the Innovation District and residential buildings.

“This entire Mission Valley expansion of SDSU’s campus, that’s big, it’s bold, it’s exciting, it’s the kind of stuff that the eighth-largest city in the country should be doing,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

“This is what happens when an unstoppable coalition of San Diegans get together and relentlessly pursue a project that will move our city forward in many, many different ways,” he said. “I am looking forward to coming back here next year when tens of thousands of San Diegans file into this beautiful new stadium for the first time to cheer on our incredible Aztecs.”

David Malcolm made additional remarks on behalf of Aztec Stadium donor Mrs. Dianne Bashor, who was unable to attend the event in person, but has played an integral role in making Aztec Stadium’s Bashor Field a reality through her generosity and ongoing support.

Upcoming milestones for the project include placing the precast concrete, which will shape the seating areas, and the buildout of the stadium’s interior spaces, which will evolve into concession stands, club spaces, and suites. By this winter, the videoboard and first seat will be installed.