Penn State University appears poised to move forward with the first phase of renovating Beaver Stadium, a closely watched project to extend the life of one of the nation’s largest and most familiar college football venues.
University trustees, due to meet Friday, May 5 at University Park, are expected to vote on whether to authorize spending up to $70 million for the initial phase, according to a board agenda posted Friday.
The agenda states that the work would maintain seating capacity at over 100,000. A draft resolution says the $70 million would pay for design costs, consultants, permit acquisitions, stadium winterization, and related expenses.
Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi announced in February that the administration would seek to renovate rather than replace the landmark.
She and other officials have said revenues from intercollegiate athletics will pay for the costs and that no tuition or other educational funding will be spent.
Projected costs for the construction, itself, were not available when Bendapudi announced the plan in February, nor was a project timetable. A Penn State spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment late Friday.
Officials have described the work as a less expensive alternative to replacing the stadium.
“As envisioned, the Beaver Stadium renovation will align Penn State Football facilities and operations with the highest competitive level within the Power 5 and Big 10,” according to material accompanying the board’s resolution.
“The plan is to focus on the west side of the stadium to provide improved access for broadcasting, greatly improved circulation, new restrooms, upgraded concession offerings and much-needed premium seating,” it read.
Other improvements to the rest of the stadium “will include improved vertical circulation, upgraded concourses, circulation renovations to enhance accessibility, restroom additions, and upgraded concession quality and capacity.
Field lighting improvements to meet NCAA standards are also planned.
Beaver Stadium has a capacity of nearly 107,000. It is the venue where the late football coach Joe Paterno walked the sidelines for nearly 50 years.
Beaver Stadium’s present location is at the corner of Porter Road and Park Avenue and dates to 1960, officials said.
Previously, Beaver Field had been at two separate locations. In 1909, Penn State built a new Beaver Field after outgrowing its original 500-seat football arena built in 1893 behind Osmond Laboratory. The newer field, with a capacity of 30,000, closed in 1959.
Bill Schackner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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