Penn State unveils major Beaver Stadium renovations

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)

Penn State plans "extensive" renovations for Beaver Stadium, including chairback seating and more club options, that will lower capacity but keep the stadium's size above 100,000, the university announced Monday.

The 17-month study, conducted by Missouri-based architecture firm Populous, addressed Penn State's need to upgrade athletics facilities across campus.

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour.

The Master Plan, which Penn State calls a 20-year project, is scheduled to be implemented during the 2018-19 school year. Among the first projects are the "Center of Excellence," which Penn State calls the "new hub" for athletes, a multi-purpose indoor practice facility, a new natatorium and a new indoor tennis facility.

Penn State seeks to raise at least $120 million in donations before beginning the first phase of construction, athletic director Sandy Barbour said. Further, the university said that other funding could come from corporate partnerships and use of student fees.

Beaver Stadium: Beaver Stadium, Penn State's 57-year-old football stadium, is a significant component of the plan. According to the study, Penn State plans "substantial renovations" for the stadium, the nation's second-largest with 106,572 seats, but seeks to maintain seating capacity above 100,000. Beaver Stadium is among seven U.S. stadiums with capacities above 100,000.

According to Penn State, the renovations to Beaver Stadium would not begin for at least six years. They will include:

Significant increase in chairback seating.

Wider concourses and added premium-seating options.

New concessions locations.

New restrooms.

Improved tailgating opportunities around Beaver Stadium.

Penn State did not announce the renovation costs Monday.

The initial phase five-year phase of construction will focus on new four projects, Penn State said:

Center of Excellence: A 45,000 square-foot facility, located adjacent to the Lasch Football Building and Morgan Academic Center, will house sports performance, nutrition and science programs for all Penn State athletes.

Indoor practice facility: A 108,000 square-foot facility, attached to the Center of Excellence, will provide indoor practice space for several teams.

Natatorium: A 130,000 square-foot facility with a 10-lane, 50-meter competition pool and seating for 2,500.

Indoor tennis facility: A 100,000 square-foot complex with 10 courts and seating for 500.

Penn State also plans to renovate Jeffrey Field, home of Penn State's soccer programs, during the initial phase.

The 20-year plan further includes renovations to the Bryce Jordan Center and Lasch Football Building and a new parking structure west of Beaver Stadium.

Scott Radecic, a former Penn State football player, headed the Populous group that created the Facilities Master Plan.

“The primary goals of the athletic master plan were to consolidate operations and enhance the life of a student-athlete,” Radecic said. "The consolidation of activities provides opportunities for more interaction between student-athletes, coaches and administration. As a former student-athlete, that interaction is a key part of a great collegiate experience."