ARDMORE — University of Oklahoma president David Boren sat down with Joe Castiglione and Bob Stoops for a small press conference following Wednesday morning’s Board of Regents meeting, and almost immediately kicked off the fundraising for the $370 million needed to upgrade Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
“I know that our athletics director and our football coach and other members of the staff would be happy to meet anyone who is hearing me now and feels moved already to offer generous support for this project,” Boren said with a smile. “We are available. The phone lines are open as they like to say on occasions like this. This is not only the adoption of this master plan; it is the official launching of the private fundraising campaign to make this a reality.”
Wednesday, the regents approved the massive stadium upgrade plan, which include a new south end zone complex that will fill in the open corners, creating a full bowl, and substantial additions to team facilities below the south stands. Those facilities will include a new weight room, equipment room, new team areas, coaches’ offices and the relocation of the athletic offices that are currently housed in the north end zone.
Other projects will include demolishing the current press box and constructing a new one, expanded fan concourses and new fan plazas, as well as 43 additional restrooms — the stadium currently has seven — 69 new concession stands, guest services and team stores.
The huge amount of money needed to complete these projects will come entirely from private fundraising, revenue bonds and other athletics department funds, a fact Boren made painstakingly clear only two days after the board approved a nearly 5 percent increase in tuition.
“We’re not taking money that we could use to teach classes or house students or pay professors and handing it over to the athletics department,” Boren said.