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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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The Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre now features expanded concessions, restrooms and a widened concourse. The Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre now features expanded concessions, restrooms and a widened concourse.

Sparkling and Spacious

The final phase of a $5.7-million update brings a new look and feel to the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre.
By Tobin Vaughn

The Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre (OAT) on the campus of San Diego State University has just been renovated with expanded concessions, restrooms and a widened concourse to help reduce lines and improve access to the popular outdoor venue. The update adds a new, wide entrance on the southwest side of the theatre while replacing cramped, aging structures and portable toilets with sleek, modern facilities.

The enhancements represent the third and final phase of a $5.7-million OAT makeover that includes a new stage roof, support system and new seating. The latest improvements were unveiled to the public on March 3 at a near-capacity GreenFest Concert.

Mechanical engineering major Hannah Pollek attended the concert and said she was impressed with the changes.

"It's really nice,” Pollek said. “I like how they have it laid out for big crowds.”

Pollek said she had attended a Death Cab for Cutie concert last year where her experience was somewhat different.

"I just remember lots of people all in one area because it wasn't nearly as spacious as this," she said.

A huge improvement

A new concession stand forms a facade for the theatre’s south side. Facing the broad concourse on the inside, it features 12 service points and more open space for waiting concertgoers.

"It’s a huge improvement,” said John Kolek, executive director of Associated Students. “The concourse is wide enough where we won't have the big bottlenecks, and it allows us more space to do promotional things, sponsorship activations and things that will provide a better experience for the patrons.”

Patrons aren’t the only ones having a better experience. Jacob Delgado (’11) has been working concessions at SDSU since he was an undergraduate student at SDSU. He said he felt like “a kid at Christmas” coming into his first night of work in the new concession facility.

“This is awesome,’” Delgado said. “Everything is brand-new and has never been touched. It’s great. Everything is a lot more efficient the way it is laid out. Everyone working here loves it.”

Kolek said future plans for the OAT include adding a new sound and lighting system in the next several years to help cut costs for smaller productions at the venue.  

“When you have to bring in the sound and lights, it's pretty expensive,” Kolek said. “That’s what really keeps more student groups from using the theatre, so we will put in a small system for what they need and that will make it much more affordable for the campus."

Approximately $3 million in funding for the OAT renovation came from the 10-year naming agreement with California Coast with the remainder paid for by Associated Students.