FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --For the first time in more than three decades, major changes are coming to Bulldog Stadium.
"It's like an old house, you have to update it a little bit," said Jim Bartko, Fresno Director of Athletics.
Bartko is spearheading the $60-million project to update the 36-year-old stadium.
"It's probably long overdue. We need to do it the right way we have to do effectively and efficiently."
The renovation will include new skybox suites, club seating, and easier access for red wavers.
Assuming fundraising is where it needs to be and everything else is on schedule, Fresno State will begin overhauling Bulldog Stadium following the 2017 season. It will begin with the press box side of the field.
"Hopefully we'll be in the Mountain West Championship playing somebody on December 3rd-- and on December 4th we start work," said Bartko.
So how do you pay for it all-- $20 Million dollars will come from donors
another $20 million will come from stadium naming rights. While the final $20 million will be borrowed.
Despite the program's recent struggles on the field, and the inability to fill the stadium, Bartko is confident red wavers will continue to donate the funds needed for renovation.
"The season hasn't impacted the donors from the boxes and club seats so far at all."
Bartko admits he'd like to have a strong football season to lead into this $60 million campaign, but he's hopeful Tim Deruyter's Bulldogs can still turn this year around.
"Fans get frustrated and they have the right to be. It's their income, it's our job. In our marketing and fundraising arms is to make the fan experience good," said Bartko. "Tim had three great seasons to start and has had two tough seasons so far but I'm not giving up on this year right now."
Bulldog football makes up roughing 80-percent of the university's $36-million annual budget.
"Football drives the revenue for all 21 sports we have and we can't afford to have 15,000 people in the stands year and year out. And so we have to find a solution and people need to have faith," said Bartko.
The plan is to have the stadium project completed in time for the 2019 season opener against Minnesota.
"It's not about one season or any individual or one player, it's about the next 30, 40 years of Bulldog football," said Bartko.
Bartko tells me the school hopes to announce the architect for the project by Friday.