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Penn State Football: Everything You Need To Know About The Beaver Stadium Renovations

by on March 13, 2017 6:15 PM

Penn State athletics announced its plans to drastically renovate Beaver Stadium on Monday afternoon as part of a Facilities Master Plan that will shape the face of programs across campus for decades to come.

Despite a wide array of aspirational specifics, the timeline for the actual Beaver Stadium project remains unclear as Penn State continues to design and complete cost analysis to further pinpoint exact changes.

That said, Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour noted on Monday that the initial stages of construction won't happen within the first five-year window updates. In a media session following the public presentation Barbour emphasized that the project's timeline will continue to be unknown for much of that initial five-year stage until more design and fundraising specifics are finalized.

So what do we know? Here are five things to tie you over until construction finally begins.

1. It Will Be Smaller

Beaver Stadium's officially capacity will drop to the ballpark of 103,000 due to changes across the arena. While the final number might bump above or below that, it's a point of pride that Penn State keeps the 100,000 mark to stay among the nation's and the world's largest stadiums. So no more #107KStrong but still plenty of voices. All of that aside the current plan includes just over 1.7 million in additional square feet. So fewer seats but far more space for everyone.

2. Chairs

Part of the reason that the stadium will decrease in capacity is the addition of chair-back seats, how many in total will be converted from the current bleachers isn't something Penn State knows as of Monday, but it's a significant percentage of the stadium. Either way, it's safe to say that fans will have more personal space to enjoy and maybe even a cupholder. Not the student section though, that will stay the same.

3. Suites Are Moving

According to the proposed changes the suite boxes on the east side of Beaver Stadium will be torn down and an additional level will be added instead (see images below). In turn, luxury boxes will be placed in lower portions of the bowl. Speaking of which, the current plan calls for a scoreboard in the lower bowl as well, mimicking many NFL stadiums. So no more looking way up high for a replay. Penn State anticipates that the current scoreboards (recently installed) will have reached the end of their lifespan by that time anyway.

4. You're Going To Have To Wait

As mentioned above, Penn State doesn't have a concrete start or end date for the renovation. Until designs are finalized and fundraising goals are constructed (and met) the entire plan is by in large is in its infancy. That being said the Beaver Stadium renovation is happening, it's just unclear to all parties involved when the construction will begin. So early in the process that's not entirely unexpected, but it means the vast majority of Monday's plans are subject to change and almost certainly will in the next five years as the process continues.

5. Other Uses

Barbour has long talked about using Beaver Stadium for other events aside from football and this plan will physically flatten the field (it currently has a crown) and slightly expand the area around it. The result, Penn State can host (and has talked to FIFA) about hosting international soccer as well as the often sought after Winter Classic between two NHL teams. In truth, either of those two things happening is beyond Penn State's control, but the facilities will be there.

--Other notes--

  • The exterior seen in the renderings are hollow archways that encompass the current stadium. The idea is the give the interior concourse better circulation. For fans who have made the trip to Ann Arbor it is a similar concept as that at Michigan Stadium.
  • Since the actual renovation plans are not yet finalized Penn State does not yet have a fundraising goal. The initial five renovation projects on campus are creating a $120 million fundraising effort but that will likely be dwarfed by Beaver Stadium's total cost. For comparisons, Penn State has looked to Texas A&M and Kyle Field that was renovated for nearly half a billion, but came in slightly under budget.
  • Whatever renovations are finalized won't happen all at once. Like Kyle Field, Penn State will go about the changes over the span of years. Some of this is for the sake of fundraising, most of it is for the practicality of only having a few months a year to make massive structural changes to a large building.
  • New press box, I'm excited for that at least.

Photo Gallery - Beaver Stadium Renovations

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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