There are few venues in all of American sports as iconic as Beaver Stadium. The facility, the home of the Penn State Nittany Lions football team in Univeristy Park, Pennsylvania, is the second-largest stadium in the United States by capacity at 106,572.
Beaver Stadium has hosted some of the greatest players college football has ever seen. Some of those are Penn State legends like Franco Harris, Shane Conlan, Matt Millen, Ki-Jana Carter, Lavar Arrington, Saquon Barkley, and Micah Parsons. But, it’s not just Penn State players that have played in that cathedral of college football. Other greats like Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Eddie George, Charles Woodson and Drew Brees have competed against the Nittany Lions there.
And, it’s home to the annual White Out, widely lauded as one of the best traditions in all of college football, and almost certainly the one that produces the most hostile environment.
🏆 iJosh video of the year nominee
➡️ Auburn vs Penn State
🗓 Sept 18, 2021
📌 White Out at Beaver Stadium as @coachjfranklin & @PennStateFball take down Auburn pic.twitter.com/YUEpM1KlQq
— Josh Pate (@LateKickJosh) January 17, 2022
Penn State White Out: ✅ pic.twitter.com/JXJIggdR9i
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) October 23, 2022
But, Beaver Stadium itself isn’t all that nice. It’s more or less two giant erector sets of bleachers on each side, with club seating in one end zone. The amenities, bathroom, and concessions are well behind many of the other top venues in college football. And, it’s all bleachers, as opposed to stadium seats, making attending games there uncomfortable.
But, Penn State has announced plans to significantly renovate Beaver Stadium, with step one of the renovation coming up for what should be a formality of a vote to the Board of Trustees next month. Here is On3 with more details.
According to multiple sources familiar with the expansive project, the initial phase of the proposal will be presented to Penn State’s Board of Trustees at its May 4-5 meetings for a renovation with total costs estimated to run as high as $700 million.
The project will primarily focus on the west side of the stadium, including a complete demolition of the current stands and the press box. In its place, the proposal is for a rebuild with new stands, including expanded chair back seating on its lower level, as well as luxury amenities, suites, and loge boxes. Additionally, space for press seating and media amenities will be included.
Those changes will be the most dramatic and visible from within Beaver Stadium. However, sources have also confirmed that a significant portion of the project’s overall budget is intended to improve other parts of the stadium.
That work is expected to greatly improve fan movement throughout the stadium via expanded concourses and improved options for moving between stadium levels. Expanded concessions and restrooms and other major maintenance to help solidify and improve upon the ailing, aging facility are also on tap.
Full disclosure, my family has had season tickets to Penn State games through four generations now. So, I have some nostalgia towards the primitive nature of the stadium. But, I am very excited for the renovated Beaver Stadium, and college football fans who want to make the pilgrimage to one of the great venues in college sports will be too.