Central Washington Unveils Renovated Tomlinson Saturday
The Central Washington football team huddles at midfield on the new Tomlinson Stadium turf in preparation for Saturday's game vs. West Texas A&M. Photo by Caleb Dunlop.
The Central Washington football team huddles at midfield on the new Tomlinson Stadium turf in preparation for Saturday's game vs. West Texas A&M. Photo by Caleb Dunlop.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Much has changed in the college football landscape since Central Washington beat Puget Sound 14-13 in the first-ever game at Tomlinson Stadium on Oct. 3, 1959.

But the stadium had not changed for the first 59 years of its existence. Until this summer, that is, as Central Washington invested $6 million in the venerable facility as part of the university’s Wildcats Commons project. The new Tomlinson will be revealed to the public on Saturday as the Wildcats host West Texas A&M in the first-ever night game at the stadium.

“It’s exciting, not only for the students but for the community,” said Central Washington head coach Ian Shoemaker. “Our guys are pumped to play under the lights and make history by playing in the first night game at Tomlinson Stadium. The lights, the turf and the changes to the stadium have created a brand new atmosphere and we are excited to make Saturday night a remarkable experience within the Ellensburg community.”

Construction began soon after commencement in June with the removal of the old grass surface and demolition of the track. While the Wildcats played their first home game at Yakima’s Zaepfel Stadium on Sept. 15, a 49-0 shutout of Humboldt State, work was completed on Tomlinson’s FieldTurf Vertex surface, lights and plazas at both end zones for boosters and events.

“It’s a landmark day for us,” said Central Washington athletic director Dennis Francois. “Our students, players, coaches and the community have been looking forward to Saturday since we began the renovations. OHNO Construction and FieldTurf have been fantastic to work with throughout the process. We are excited to get Saturday’s game underway and to create a memorable event for the Central Washington community.”

The renovation was the first of any significant consequence to Tomlinson since that opening game in 1959. The $6 million included installation of the artificial turf and lighting, renovation of facility’s restrooms, entry gates and box office; and construction of the end zone plazas. The new playing surface will also allow the Wildcats’ varsity women’s soccer and rugby squads to use Tomlinson for contests. Central Washington women’s soccer will host Northwest Nazarene at the facility for a night match on Oct. 6.

The Tomlinson track is being replaced by a new oval that is being built as part of the new Recreation Sports Complex, located west of the football stadium. The complex will eventually include construction of an indoor track and field facility and a convocation center in future phases of the Wildcats Commons project.

Both Tomlinson Stadium and the Recreation Sports Complex is all part of Central Washington’s $56 million expansion of the university’s its north campus. The project also includes construction of a new residence hall and expansion of on-campus dining opportunities.

A ribbon-cutting officially dedicating the renovation Tomlinson Stadium will take place at 3 p.m. Kickoff for the contest between Central Washington and West Texas A&M is at 6 p.m.