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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


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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

“The frustrating thing, we’re behind in all these things. We see what it did for Oklahoma State. Went from the bottom of the Big 12 to fighting for the top, just because of nice facilities. That’s what it’s all about in this day and time.”

The second phase — a massive edifice above the west upper deck — would start after completion of the Switzer Center, again, if the money is raised. That construction cost could exceed $200 million. The price tag on all three phases approaches $400 million.

“I think they’ll be able to get it done,” said the booster. “Nothing’s easy. The good part about it is, it looks like they’re going to get started. And you gotta look at the bright side.”

In his 20 years as OU’s president, Boren has been a master not only at fund-raising but at choosing the right times to fund raise. The same caution and control he has shown on the stadium project, he has shown on a variety of massive academic projects as well.

And both athletic director Joe Castiglione and football coach Bob Stoops have been respectful of that process. Stoops consistently has said he has everything he needs to win, though OU’s once-pristine weight room has fallen behind many others in the Big 12 and nationally in terms of size.

The weight room in the Switzer Center is used by virtually all the OU varsity teams, though the football has a smaller weightlifting facility in the Everest Indoor Training Center.

Earlier this month, when Stoops was asked if his team could use a football-only facility, he took the high road. “We have one,” Stoops said. “Our locker room, our entire area, is football only.”

But sources say Stoops has wanted, and been promised, a new weight room.

Boren apparently has decided the time is right for the launch of the project. Now it’s up to Castiglione’s fund-raising efforts, through the Boren parameters, to transform one of college football’s meccas.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

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 Oklahoman,...
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