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The Q is a perfect framework for a refurbished state-of -the-art stadium. Plus, rehabbing an old building rather than building a new one is better for the environment.
Now that the Chargers’ Measure C convadium proposal has failed, we should look to our best option, revamping Qualcomm Stadium.
For half the cost of a new Mission Valley stadium, we can transform the old Q into a state-of -the-art new sports facility. The building’s got good bones and an iconic architectural style that’s worth preserving.
News reports about Qualcomm Stadium, though, have given San Diegans the impression that the facility is falling apart, or a total dump that has to be completely demolished and replaced with a new structure. But let’s review the facts.
A city-sponsored study found that the old stadium needed about $80 million of renovation work to bring it back to good condition. At the time, the dissenters complained about how much money that was. Replacing it with a new $1 billion stadium, however, certainly wouldn’t save anyone any money.
The mayor’s Citizens Stadium Advisory Group later determined that it would take around $700 million to bring Qualcomm Stadium up to modern standards. The projection for a new Mission Valley stadium was estimated to be about $1.1 billion.
The group asked why the city would want to spend $700 million on the old Q if we could have a new stadium for only $400 million more. Well, that might be chump change for the NFL, but it is real money for San Diego taxpayers. That money could be spent on road repairs, libraries, parks and the rest of the city’s deferred expenses.
Why not instead save millions and focus on upgrading Qualcomm Stadium? Aside from some code upgrades, the Q is a perfect framework for a refurbished state-of -the-art stadium. Plus, rehabbing an old building rather than building a new one is better for the environment.
Tearing down the stadium would have a huge, negative environmental impact. Although the concrete could probably be turned into onsite fill material, the rest of the demolished portion would have to be hauled away using lots of resources at about a $100 million expense.
With the addition of multiple new video boards, reconstructed sky boxes, public toilets and locker rooms, Qualcomm Stadium can be a great sports facility once again.
The stadium occupies less than a third of the 163-acre Mission Valley site, which leaves 100 acres or more to do something else like build a regional park and a satellite campus for San Diego State University. We would even have room left over for some tailgating.
Now that the downtown stadium idea has been voted down, we can give the Chargers a viable alternative in Mission Valley. And it can be one that we can afford.
Let’s stand up for our stadium and our tax dollars and make the new Q the new home of the Chargers.
Jack Carpenter is an architect and chair of the Qualcomm Study Group.