CWU News

CWU reopens renovated football field for night gridiron action

Tomlinson StadiumFootball fans, alumni, donors, and all members of Wildcat Nation will get their first official looks as the “new” Tomlinson Stadium on Saturday, September 29. That is when CWU officials host a 3:00 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony for the $6-million renovation.

“It’s definitely an exciting time at Central,” said CWU Athletic Director Dennis Francois. “These renovations are a huge impact for Dennis Francois, our student-athletes and our programs, but, definitely, the community of Ellensburg as well.”

The renovations are part of the first major overhaul of the football facility in nearly six decades. They include new entry gates, refurbished restrooms, expanded visitor seating, and a fan-friendly box office and ticketing area. In addition, new Wildcat and Alumni Plazas will offer university donors and graduates special areas to watch the action. But the project hallmarks are the artificial turf and stadium lighting.

“The lights, as well as turf field, allows us a lot more opportunities to host games,” Francois continued. “From the high school perspective, we can now host playoff games after the first round, because they require turf and lights. But, for us, too, having the flexibility to be able to have night games will engage our community more.”

Francois said most night games will be scheduled early in the season, when the weather is warmer. In November, when temperatures begin to drop, football game kick-off times will revert to 1:00 p.m.

The Tomlinson renovation will prove to be beneficial to university athletic programs beyond just football.

“The football stadium will now also be regulation size for rugby, and serve our women’s and men’s rugby program, and also soccer,” he noted. “I think we’re now in line to have one of the best multi-use facilities in the GNAC (Great Northwest Athletic Conference).”

Saturday, at 6:00 p.m., the Wildcat football team, ranked ninth in the latest NCAA Division II national football rankings, will host West Texas A&M in the first home night game ever for CWU. A full house of more than 4,000 fans is expected to be on hand for that contest.

“They play some pretty serious football down there [in Texas]—and they’re going to be a tough opponent,” Francois acknowledged. “They are going to want our happy day to turn into a sad night. But we’re going to do our best to not let that happen.” 

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,