OU football: Luxury suites, new weight room, fan amenities included in stadium renovation proposal

OU STADIUM — The proposed renovation plan for OU’s Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will be unveiled Wednesday in Ardmore. Plans will include a new pressbox, luxury suites and fan amenities, including a new video board on the stadium’s north side to match the one on the south.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 24, 2014


photo - 
Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Oklahoma could undergo significant renovations in the coming years. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO
Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Oklahoma could undergo significant renovations in the coming years. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO

A new weight room, coaches offices and fan amenities. Then a pressbox and luxury suites above the west-side upper deck. Eventually a new video screen for the north end to match the massive board on the south end.

The proposed renovation plan for OU’s Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will be unveiled to the university’s board of regents Wednesday in Ardmore, but the construction is contingent on athletic department fund-raising that will require the project be completed in three stages.

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Some OU donors for several years have pushed for improvements to the stadium, but sources say OU president David Boren has closely managed the progress of the plan because of the shaky nature of higher education funding and fund-raising in the state. Boren does not want the project to affect the university’s ability to raise money for academic pursuits.

Boren and the regents are expected to require the athletic department to have the funding in place for the first phase to be approved sometime early next year. More than $100 million is needed for the renovation of the Switzer Center, with an expanded weight room and new coaches offices, plus fan amenities, which could include new bathrooms, concession areas, wider concourses and plaza areas for fans to gather. The entire project is not expected to increase the current stadium capacity of 82,112, which routinely is exceeded by a few thousand. In fact, it’s possible the capacity could decline, though the luxury suites are expected to generate more than enough revenue to offset any decline in total number of fans.

If approved, Switzer Center construction could begin at the end of the 2015 season, and sources say OU officials believe the bulk of the work would be completed for the opening of the 2016 season.

Texas “A&M is finishing their $400 million (stadium) deal,” said an OU booster who has been lobbying for the upgrades. “TCU’s stadium is better than JerryWorld. Baylor’s is going to be out of this world. You know what Oklahoma State did. Finally OU is joining the party, it looks like.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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