This stadium is situated at the base of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs in one of the most beautiful settings in college football. Falcon Stadium is without a doubt among the premier college football stadiums in America, especially for visitors. Falcon football veterans, however, may not recognize the old stomping grounds.
At a cost of $3.5 million, Falcon Stadium was built in a natural bowl in the foothills in the fall of 1962. During the opening night of Falcon Stadium in 1962, 41,350 spectators saw Air Force defeat Colorado State 24-0 before an overflow crowd. During a visit by Oregon to the Air Force, AFA held a formal dedication on Oct. 20, 1962. During the game, the Ducks won by a score of 35 to 20. Though originally built exclusively for football, the stadium is now host to several other events not related to athletics, such as the Academy’s annual graduation ceremony.
The stadium has undergone several major renovations since 1962. In 1991, the Academy installed nine skyboxes and revamped the existing press box. With the current setup, the facility can accommodate 450 people indoors, along with 88 people in the skyboxes. Besides being used for games, the press box is also used as a banquet and meeting room by the athletic department.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the stadium was able to hold 52,480 people. In 2002, the Academy added permanent lights. The cost of just under $500,000 was at no expense to taxpayers. That cost was covered by the Air Force Academy Athletic Association. An attendance record of 56,409 filled the stadium for a game against Notre Dame during the same season. The stadium was also fitted with a new scoreboard in 2004. The new board includes a large video screen and message board and has replaced the old board at the south end of the field.
But in 2005, the stadium’s capacity was reduced to 46,692 which is the current capacity. Taking away the bleachers on the east side provided additional food and beverage vendors and more room for fans to move around the stadium. A total of $750,000 was spent on installing FieldTurf before the 2006 season. An additional 26,520 square feet of native grass surrounds the new turf, covering 84,480 square feet.
Approximately 380 tons of rubber and sand fill the space between the synthetic fibers. Approximately 1.5 miles of underground drainage pipe and 27 miles of heating cables ensure that up to 12 feet of water can drain from the surface each hour. A huge project for the city of Colorado Springs.
Before the 2016 season, two brand new scoreboards were installed. One was installed in the north end zone, and the other in the south end zone. At the time of installation, the video board in the south end zone was the largest in the Mountain West and among service academies. The board is over 2,500 square feet of HD video display with dimensions of 31-2 by 82-8, including a state-of-the-art audio system. Also before this year’s season, the turf was replaced, the home locker room was fully renovated, along with new coaches rooms, medical rooms, and media rooms in 2018.
As a result of the scenic backdrop, the game-day experience, and the recent upgrades to Falcon Stadium, it’s now one of the best college football venues around. This can be seen by the fact that CBS Sports ranked Falcon Stadium as the 22nd best in college football, higher than any other Mountain West institution. Sitting at 6,621 feet above sea level, the thin air has been kind to the Falcons. In terms of elevation, Falcon Stadium is the second-highest stadium out of all Division I-A stadiums in the country. Currently, the stadium can hold 46,692 people.
Read Another – Cottonwood Creek Park