Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lions Ad Prefers to Renovate Stadium Football Venue Focus of Study on Facilities

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lions Ad Prefers to Renovate Stadium Football Venue Focus of Study on Facilities

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said she would prefer Beaver Stadium, the school's massive football stadium, be renovated instead of building a new football stadium as the school announced Thursday it is working with Kansas City-based architecture firm Populous to create a facilities master plan for the department.

"That's my strong personal preference, that's our preference as an athletic department and certainly as a university," she said Thursday in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The school will rely on the recommendations of Populous, which in the next 10 months will present the school with long-term solutions for the athletic department's facilities.

Beaver Stadium will be a focal point of the study, Barbour said. Opened in 1960 with a seating capacity of 106,572, the stadium was last expanded in 2001 and welcomed 711,358 fans last year.

"It's my responsibility and it's our responsibility to do our due diligence and make sure we've identified, this is a 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-year proposition, right?" Barbour said.

Penn State installed high definition video boards at the start of last football season and this offseason made improvements to the press box, which was previously updated in 1978. The press box upgrade was initially estimated at $2 million.

Barbour said she hears recommendations from fans all the time about improving the

game-day experience at Beaver Stadium, including suggestions to increase space for each bleacher seat and upgrade concession stands, elevators and bathrooms. The school also will explore how to maximize the stadium so that it serves a greater purpose than hosting seven football games a year. Since her arrival in July 2014, Barbour has fielded questions about having Beaver Stadium stage hockey games and concerts.

"I don't think I've been shy about saying we absolutely need Beaver Stadium to focus on being the very, very best game-day environment in all of college football," she said. "That stadium is a great asset, and how do we use it some number of days other than those seven? …

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