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BOULDER — The University of Colorado has selected its design/build team for its massive Athletic Complex Expansion, with Mortenson/Populous the choice to develop and create both the largest renovation and additions in Folsom Field history, athletic director Rick George has announced.
Denver-based Mortensen Construction and Populous have worked with a “Who’s Who” of clients in the sports world, both individually and on a collaborative basis. Locally, the two partnered on two very familiar venues for the area sports fan: Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, and the Pepsi Center, where the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche reside.
The chairman of Mortensen Construction ( is M.A. Mortenson, Jr., is a CU graduate, and some of the projects it has undertaken include CU’s Anschutz Campus’ Research II facility, the Kansas State University west side stadium expansion, Minneapolis’ Target Field, the University of Minnesota’s football stadium, numerous airport terminals including Denver International Airport (DIA) and convention centers around the nation, as well as the current renovation of the upper deck at Coors Field.
Populous ( has 13 world-wide locations and has been involved in dozens of major athletic projects, including the design of Fisht Olympic Stadium, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Other notable projects include several soccer stadiums around the world, University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.), the redevelopment of Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, and designs of ballparks such as the new Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards (Baltimore) and Nationals Park (Washington, D.C.).
The last major addition to Folsom was completed in 2003 with the addition of the East Side Stadium Club and Suites, which added 3,000 seats to the stadium’s capacity and provided the first-ever luxury seating on the east side at a cost of $43 million. That was preceded over a decade earlier by the demolition of the old team house for the Dal Ward Athletic Center, a $14 million venture that included the then-state of the art facility and improved bleacher seating in the north end zone; it opened just ahead of the 1991 season in time to celebrate CU’s first national championship in football.
Originally called Colorado Stadium before being renamed for its legendary head coach in 1944, Folsom was built in 1924 with a seating capacity of 26,000, all constructed for approximately $70,000; with expansion in mind when originally built, it was by design rather easy to add an upper deck. In 1956, the capacity increased to 45,000 when a second deck was erected around two-thirds of the stadium. Some 6,000 more seats were added in 1967 when the running track was removed and team dressing facilities were constructed at the north end of the field.
Improvements continued, as the six-level Flatirons Club and press box facility was added on the west side before the start of the 1968 season. In the summer of 1976, Folsom Field had another facelift, as wooden bleacher seats were removed and replaced with the current silver and gold aluminum bleachers. The renovation of CU’s team house in the summer of 1979 was the last major stadium expense until Dal Ward was constructed over a decade later.
The design phase has begun for the estimated $143 million project, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Regents last December. This includes receiving input from all areas within the athletic department on what the most immediate needs are, keeping in line with what George has previously said, “This project involves needs, not wants.”
This expansion project will include adding a level of administrative offices to the east side of the stadium, a near complete renovation of Dal Ward to include adding and end zone club and premium seating, expanding the building eastward to add academic workspace, meeting and locker rooms for several sports, and the addition of a high performance sports center. An indoor practice facility which includes a new 300-meter indoor track will be constructed, along with redesigning the northeast corner of Folsom to include additional restrooms and the southwest side where retail space will replace current athletic offices.
For construction to officially begin, one-third of the estimated cost must be raised, or approximately $50 million; George said that his team is over halfway to that amount, with the longstanding goal remaining of having the project move forward this spring with a targeted completion date of August 2015.