Penn State is taking the next steps for determining the future of Beaver Stadium.
The athletic department is partnering with global architecture and design firm Populous on a concept study to review major maintenance projects and renovation options for the 61-year-old home of Nittany Lion football, according to a release on Thursday.
The study follows a facilities master plan also produced with Populous and released in March 2017 to address needs across the athletic department, including renovations or construction for about 20 facilities over 20 years.
“We are excited to work with Populous, led by Penn State letterman Scott Radecic and alum Jeff Funovits, on this important project in our Facilities Master Plan,” Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour said. “Our team is looking forward to the feedback from our user groups in order to create the roadmap for the necessary and desired renovations, as well as to maximize the value that Beaver Stadium brings to our campus and community.”
Populous will conduct the study over the course of the summer “with a wide range of stakeholders from the campus and community,” to identify recommendations for the stadium’s “near- and long-term maintenance needs, operational efficiencies, partnership opportunities as well as improvements to the fan and student-athlete experience.”
The facilities master plan, which the athletic department described in 2017 as an “aspirational” guiding document, proposed a large-scale renovation to Beaver Stadium including an increase in chairback seating, new concessions and food options, new restrooms, wider concourses and more premium seating options.
That plan suggested adding square footage to the stadium, but reducing the overall capacity to about 103,000. Adjustments to the stadium and field area would also make it more adaptable to hosting non-Penn State football events like an NHL game or international soccer.
Renderings also showed the addition of a brick and stone exterior around the stadium.
Beaver Stadium renovations were not part of the first five-year phase of the plan and were not expected to begin until at least 2023. They are also expected to take several years to complete once a plan is finally set in motion.
Populous has designed venues including Yankee Stadium and facilities for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Senior principal Radecic was a linebacker and Academic All-American on Penn State’s 1982 national championship team. Principal and planner Funovits is a 1989 Penn State graduate.
“Years after my first game as a freshman, I still hear the chants of “We are” echoing off the seating bowl at Beaver Stadium,” Funovits said. “We’re thrilled to help make the stadium a bucket list destination and memory maker for generations to come.”