Out with the old, in with the new: West Side of Reser Stadium goes boom

Pictured+here+is+the+West+Side+of+Reser+Stadium+during+the+implosion+in+Corvallis%2C+Or.+on+Jan.+7%2C+2022.+The+2022+football+season+will+still+be+played+at+Reser%2C+and+construction+will+be+finished+in+2023.+

Jess Hume-Pantuso

Pictured here is the West Side of Reser Stadium during the implosion in Corvallis, Or. on Jan. 7, 2022. The 2022 football season will still be played at Reser, and construction will be finished in 2023.

Katterlea Macgregor , Sports Contributor

Earplug clad crowds lined the streets of Southwest Western Boulevard to hear the big boom at the implosion of Reser Stadium early this morning.

“The Dam’s coming down!” said Kyle Peterson, a fourth year para-medicine student at Oregon State University, and spectator of the implosion. “We’re blowing up the dam.”

The boom was felt in the chests of spectators. And as the smoke lifted, hoots and hollers of excitement cannoned through the crowd, “Go Beavers!”

This morning’s implosion is the first major step in completing Reser Stadium. Once finished, the best-in-class facility will provide year-round benefits for the entire OSU community, including a wellness clinic and student welcome center.

Construction is expected to finish in the summer of 2023. This means that during the 2022 football season, the stadium will still be under construction. But fans can still expect a full PAC-12 schedule, and can still attend games to cheer for the Beavers.

“The upcoming football season will continue as planned to include seven home games as well as the beloved rivalry game with the University of Oregon,” said Scott Barnes, Oregon State Vice-President, and athletic director. At least one game will be held at Providence Park in Portland. This game will have no charge to students.”

Removing the west side of the stadium will limit seating next fall. However, this is not something that worries Barnes.

“We’re able to accommodate all of our season ticket holders and our students, “said Barnes. “That’s a priority for us. Before the implosion, the stadium could fit roughly 42,000 guests. For the 2022 season, it will seat closer to 26,000. Once completed, Reser stadium will be able to accommodate 36,000 guests in permanent seating. There will also be built in flex seating for rivalry games.”

While limited seating will be a problem, Barnes said that he is not too worried about this. But one thing to consider is that the rivalry series game against the University of Oregon Ducks will be played in Corvallis on Nov. 25, 2022. Barnes knows that this game will attract the most spectators to Reser Stadium.

“That’ll probably be one of the bigger challenges of the year because that’s always a near sellout,” stated Barnes. “Unfortunate, but it’s a part of the long-term program.”

Although there may not be as many seats going forward, additions to the stadium will create a better experience for viewers.

“Imagine how close you can be to the football field in Reser Stadium today. On the West Side, you’ll be even closer than has been the case in the past,” said Steve Clark, the vice president of university marketing and relations. “It puts you into the sports environment.”

On top of fewer seats going forward, another thing to mention is that the west side housed the media and gameday operations during the regular football season. To combat this, Barnes offered up a temporary solution for those parties involved.

“Earthwork will begin shortly after the implosion. OSU community members can expect to see steel erection by May,” Barnes said. “A slab will be built by the beginning of fall to temporarily house security, media, and game operations for the 2022 season.”

And while Reser is also used for other university events outside of football, such as commencement and convocation, Barnes said that those events will still happen despite the construction.

“Other activities at Reser including commencement, convocation and any other scheduled events that would not utilize the west side stadium that will be under construction will continue as they have in the past,” stated Clark.

And during times of uncertainty, OSU has in fact planned for any issues that may occur within the next year and a half. This includes delays in construction.

“We’re postured and ready for the surprises that come along the way,” said Barnes, “We got a plan to deal with them.”

Photos of the implosion will be viewable later this afternoon and Completing Reser Stadium will include any future announcements or progress updates.