Image of Falcon Stadium by Cory Suppes of Ballparks.com
Newcomers to Falcon Stadium will see it as one of the premier college football stadiums in America. Falcon football veterans, on the other hand, may not recognize the old stomping grounds.
For starters, last season the Academy installed a new scoreboard. The board features a huge video screen and message board and will replace the old board at the south end of the field.
In 2002, the Academy added permanent lights. The cost of just under $500,000 was at no expense to tax payers. The Air Force Academy Athletic Association picked up the tab. Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa, installed the lights. There is a total wattage of 386,400 watts and approximately five miles of electronic cable and wire were used in the project.
In 1997, the Academy renovated the field itself. The renovation, which began after the 1996 season ended, lasted eight months at a cost of $788,000. The entire playing surface and drainage system, which totaled 11,250 tons, was removed and replaced with a state-of-the-art irrigation system and turf.
Randall and Blake, Inc. (RBI) installed the new surface which is similar to the ones they've installed at Texas A&M, TCU, the Oakland Coliseum, Foxboro Stadium, the Denver Broncos training facility and Coors Field.
There are 1.5 miles of underground drainage pipe and 27 miles of heating cables under the playing surface. Ten miles of electric and communication wires were installed to support and control irrigation and heating system.
The surface itself consists of 2,800 tons of pea gravel which was installed over the original stadium base and 5,600 tons of "rootzone" which is a specially mixed sand and humus combination. Nearly 350 pounds of specially mixed grass seed (Kentucky Blue and rye) was then planted.
The Astroturf covered concrete pads on both sidelines have also been removed which makes the stadium more versatile for sports such as lacrosse and soccer.
In 1991, the Academy installed nine skyboxes and remodeled the existing press box. The facility now seats 450 people indoors, along with 88 in the skyboxes. In addition to its game-day uses, the press box is also used by the athletic department as a banquet/meeting room.
Falcon Stadium was built in the fall of 1962 at a cost of $3.5 million. The stadium, which was built in a natural bowl, has a capacity of 52,480 and stands in the base of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains.
Falcon Stadium opened on September 22, 1962, when a then-overflow crowd of 41,350 saw Air Force defeat Colorado State, 24-0. AFA held a formal dedication on October 20, 1962, when Air Force hosted Oregon. The Ducks won the game, 35-20.
The stadium was originally built solely for football, but several non-athletic events such as the Academy's annual graduation are conducted there.
The Stadium is built into the base of the Rampart Range mountains. Posed against a picture of natural beauty, the stadium is one of the most functional sports structures in the nation. Although originally constructed solely for football, it also is the location for other events, such as annual graduation ceremonies and intercollegiate soccer and lacrosse games.
Completed in the fall of 1962 at a cost of $3.5 million from funds donated by Air Force personnel and civilian sources, the stadium has 52,123 permanent seats and can hold more than 55,000 spectators with additional temporary bleachers.
All of Falcon Stadium's seats are within easy walking distance of the 11,400 vehicle parking lot that surrounds the stadium on three sides. There is ample space to accomodate 250 commercial buses, and a rail siding for special trains is located just a few hundred yards from the bowl.
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 200
USAF Academy, CO 80840-5025
Athletics: U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado 80840-9500
Location: Base of the Rampart Range, Rocky Mountains.
The Academy site covers 19,000 acres, approximately 15 miles north of downtown Colorado Springs.
Colors: Blue and Silver
The Falcons were chosen for their:
-- Speed: 100 miles per hour in swoops and dives on their prey
-- Powerful and graceful flight, with strong, deep wing beats
-- Courage: fearless and aggressive
-- Keen eyesight: about eight times sharper than man
-- Alertness, regal carriage and noble tradition
Source: U.S. Air Force Sports Information Office