With the football season well underway in the U.S., it seems like an odd time to discuss stadium improvements, but that’s just what officials at Penn State University have been discussing for the past couple weeks. The conversation has been ongoing for much longer than that, but it has heated up in recent days as athletic director Sandy Barbour campaigns for the necessary support and funding, according to the school’s student newspaper, the Daily Collegian.
“Nobody’s trying to either renovate Beaver or build a new stadium just to be doing it,” Barbour told the Associated Press. “There’s a recognized need. I’ve not run into anybody that doesn’t recognize that need.”
The plan is to renovate Beaver Stadium over the next ten years or so, instead of completely rebuilding the historic sporting arena. The 106,572-seat complex is the third-largest stadium in the world with a capacity much greater than the average football stadium, which holds about 70,000.
University officials are stuck in the awkward space of needing to answer safety and convenience factors while trying to hold onto as much history and authenticity the old stadium houses. Even though it has undergone renovations in previous years, much of the facilities remain antiquated.
Additionally, the outdated plumbing requires special attention every year, elevators and corridors are small and cramped, and unlike most modern stadiums they still feature bleachers for seating.
University officials have enlisted the help of the Kansas City-based architecture firm Populous, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They will analyze the stadium and offer suggestions for a master plan over the next 10 months.
While the overall fan experience for football games is one of the school’s main concerns, they also want to create an opportunity for other events to take place in the gigantic facility. With the right tweaks, concerts, hockey games, and other events could be held there on a regular basis.