San Diego State University leaders shared an exclusive first look at the plan for an expanded campus at the Mission Valley Stadium Site.
SDSU West will compete with Soccer City on the ballot in 2018, but unlike Soccer City we haven't seen many details about their vision, until now.
In a story you'll see only see on NBC 7, school leaders met with architects Thursday for an important update.
SDSU's vision for a west campus includes a football stadium, apartments, buildings, and classrooms - all of which will be detailed in conceptual renderings over the coming weeks and months.
However, the plan doesn't start with any of that. It starts with a river.
Taking a cue from the green belts running through San Diego State's main campus, Design Firm Carrier Johnson, showed off their initial concept for a west campus accentuating the San Diego River.
It’s a design choice and, more important, a necessity.
In 1930, the river was actually running through the middle of the site where the university hopes to build.
Old images show what this part of Mission Valley looked like before Interstate 8 or SDCCU Stadium were built. It was a system of rivers and streams which had to be rerouted to make room for development.
The system works well unless, of course, it rains.
In the past excess rain in the Mission Valley area has flooded golf courses and transit stations and even surrounded hotels.
To deal with the annual rainy season, not to mention a huge 50-year flood, SDSU's design team wants to restore the watershed to its more natural state.
They've proposed an open space much larger than the $40 million river park shown in renderings proposed by Soccer City.
SDSU Athletic Director JD Wicker likes what he sees.
Along with designers, they've hired developers JMI Realty to solve the site's number one problem - hydrology.
"To Soccer City's credit, they had a plan ready to go if and when the Chargers left, we're taking our time right now," Wicker said.
SDSU says they will release official renderings soon of the stadium and buildings, but the project's foundation will be rooted in the river.
The green space would likely include sports fields, a dog park, and lots of trails which will blend up into the campus. It will be at a lower elevation so water can’t get up into the site.
Designers are promising a magical connection between education, sports, and nature.
The lead designer made a comment saying you can go to SDCCU stadium for a football game and never even realize the river is there - that won't be the case with their plan.