Penn State Announces Future Plans for Renovation of Beaver Stadium

Beaver Stadium Overhead JPEGSTATE COLLEGE, Pa. (EYT) – Renovations to Penn State’s Beaver Stadium will happen but not right away it was revealed Monday during a public presentation of its 20-year Facilities Master Plan.

(Photo: A rendition of what a renovated Beaver Stadium could look like. Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

Five projects were announced for the first five years of the plan, which is slated to officially get underway during the 2018-19 school year within the next five-year capital plan, but a much-anticipated renovation of Beaver Stadium isn’t one of them.

“One of the reasons we aren’t putting it in the first five years is that it’s a massive project,” Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said. “We need time to actually design and look at phasing.”

Barbour and Deputy Athletic Director Phil Esten both said the project will have to be done over a period of three or four years.

“We will have to do it in phases,” Barbour said. “We will build one part from December to August then play the season then build another part from December to August and then play another season.”

According to Esten, an example of how Beaver Stadium will be renovated can be seen in how Texas A&M renovated Kyle Field, although neither he nor Barbour has had any discussions with Texas A&M about their project.

“Our approach could be the same as Texas A&M,” Esten said. “We could renovate the east side of the stadium and then play a season then renovate the north portion of the stadium and play a season. They spent four seasons renovating Kyle Field. We expect it to take three or four years to renovate Beaver Stadium so we can play each season.”

Barbour, who wouldn’t give even an estimate of a goal for either the start or finish of the Beaver Stadium renovations, discussed the reasons for in a little more detail as to why the project isn’t part of the first phase of the Facilities Master Plan.

Once renovations get underway, Beaver Stadium could have an entirely different look.

On the outside of the stadium, the current proposal calls for a brick facade, while the inside will include upgrades to the stadium seating with chairback seats replacing a lot of the current bleachers – although the department doesn’t know what the ratio of chairback seats to bleachers will be. That will be part of the reason the stadium capacity will be lowered from 107,000 to around 103,000.

“We intend to stay above 100,000,” Esten said. “We feel that is important. At the same time, the trend nationally is showing a decline in capacity.”

In addition, the East luxury boxes would be moved from the top of the stadium to the middle of the stadium below the upper deck and the video scoreboard that was recently constructed in the upper south end zone would be relocated in the south end zone but down lower and integrated as part of the stadium similar to Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

New concession stands and bathrooms will also be part of the renovation as well as some other amenity upgrades.

An upgrade to the tailgating experience would also be part of the plan, although at the current time there are no plans for RV electric hookups.

As for the field itself, not much will change, although the corners in the end zones could be squared off from their current rounded format to allow international soccer to be played in the stadium.

Beaver Stadium from Distance jpeg

According to Barbour, bringing events outside of football to Beaver Stadium like international soccer and possibly an outdoor NHL game, as well as concerts, is important to the athletic department.

Funding for not only the Beaver Stadium renovations but for the entire Facilities Master Plan will come from a variety of different sources including donations, the athletic department capital fund, debt and public and private partnerships.

“We are undergoing a philanthropy feasibility study,” Barbour said. “There is no doubt in my mind we will build what we can afford.”

More information on the proposed Beaver Stadium renovations and the entire master plan can be found at http://gopsu.info/FacilitiesPlan.


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