Reser Stadium’s west side renovation separates itself from other stadiums across the nation


Jason May

Oregon State University Vice President and Athletic Director Scott Barnes leads a tour of the construction of the new west side of Reser Stadium at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore, on Jan 17. Barnes is looking to improve Reser Stadium for both home and away fans.

Ryan Harlan, Sports Writer

Over a year has passed since the Jan. 7, 2022 implosion of Reser Stadium shook the grounds of Corvallis, signaling a $162 million west side renovation of the new stadium.

The “Completing Reser Stadium Project” is nearly finished as anticipation grows for the 2023 football season.

Leading up to the start of the 2022 season, there were concerns over how the ongoing construction of Reser Stadium would impact the overall game-day experience in regards to fan attendance, parking, and how the game itself would be affected by the half-empty grandstands. 

However, the Beavers boasted a 5-1 record at home during the 2022 football season, and every home game was sold out in attendance, despite the limited parking and seating for fans attending home games. 

The “Completing Reser Stadium Project” is expected to be completed well before the home opener on Sept. 9 against UC Davis. 

This comes as Hoffman Construction has faced challenges during the renovations of the west side including weather and steel fabrication, according to Mark Rado, the construction superintendent with Hoffman Construction.

The primary problem was with the steel and that was supply chain issues over the past two years, which is a familiar challenge that the construction industry has faced, and this project was no different from those issues. 

All the required steel is now on site and it’s a matter of finishing the rest of the remaining work. 

Even with the issues, there wasn’t any concern that the construction would continue into 2023 as the project had enough built-in time to help ease construction issues and delays. 

The project is expected to be done a month before the home opener on Sept. 9 and Hoffman will be ready to help with any minor touch-ups that may arise when the west side is in operation. 

“We’re going to be done sometime in August, roughly August, but we’ll be here with OSU up until game day,” said Rado. “OSU will start taking use of the space in August.”

On Jan. 17 members of the media, along with Oregon State athletic director, Scott Barnes, and the members of the Hoffman Construction team, were invited to tour the ongoing progress of Reser Stadium. 

There have been various cosmetic changes that have occurred since the last tour in Sept. 2022 including the framing of the press box and the addition of seating in the lower bowl of the west side. 

The new Student Welcome Center will serve two roles once the west side of Reser Stadium is completed, as both a general information center for new prospective students and then transformed as an entrance for fans on game days who have purchased club seating on the west side of the stadium.

There will be three separate club seating areas on the west side of the stadium, which are the Coastal, Cascade, and Founders Club. The premium seating is some of the closest to the field in college football and is currently sold out for the 2023 season, according to Barnes. 

A new addition to the southeast side of Reser Stadium will be the new Campus Wellness Clinic, for which construction is nearing completion and is set to open in the early summer. According to Rado, the plan is to have Student Health Services move into the building around early summer and then begin operations soon afterward.  

The wellness clinic will provide health care and wellness service to students, faculty, staff, and community members in Corvallis. In addition to Student Health Services being an occupant of the new wellness clinic, Samaritan Health Services will also occupy part of the space. 

Although many of the new additions on the west side will benefit Beaver Football and the fans that come to watch football games, visiting teams at Reser Stadium will also benefit from the construction. Visiting teams won’t have to use the locker rooms in Gill Coliseum anymore, as the new visiting team locker room will be in the northwest corner of the stadium near the visitor sidelines.  

Before the renovations, both teams departed the field at halftime along the same tunnel near the east side of Reser Stadium but with this change, there is less of a chance for heated post-game or halftime interactions between players and fans.

“I think we were tied at least for the worst locker room situation for visiting teams,” Barnes said on the teams using the visiting locker rooms in Gill Coliseum, “We’re treating folks how we want to be treated now.” 

The visiting locker room is also right under Beaver Street, which connects both the north and south ends of the stadium and will serve concessions to fans on game days. 

Beaver Street is not completed as fireproofing progress is being worked on right now, according to Rado. 

Although seating capacity is expected to be less than in prior years with the new renovations of Reser Stadium, with the renovated Reser Stadium set to host around 36,000 fans, the limited seating isn’t something that Barnes is worried about, mentioning that stadiums are catering their amenities to the fans that come to watch a game on gameday. 

“When you see stadium renovations all over the country, folks are downsizing. They’re enhancing the experience, more points of purchase, more restrooms and amenities, bigger seats,” said Barnes, “We think we’re really going to be in good shape with capacity, yet also have room for students and the general public, and fair price tickets.” 

However, Barnes added while there are no immediate plans on addressing capacity and seating, they’re prepared to address any capacity issues should they become a concern after the renovations have been completed. 

“We will always be reading the market and understanding what’s four or five years ahead of us, if that changes then we’ll be ready to look at it and innovate. If we’re not innovating and adjusting, and continue to think about the future then we’re not doing our jobs, that’s always in play with what we do.”

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