‘Crown Jewel’ Reser Stadium resplendence


Reser Stadium Oregon State final touches of renovation Image: Oregon State Athletics

If ever a school needed a distraction in this era of kill-or-be-killed realignment, it’s Oregon State (US).

‘The Oregonian’ stated that the Pac-12 Conference team Oregon State Beavers have just that in their home ground – the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon (US) – where a $161 million West side remodel is nearing completion. Combined with a student welcome center and a student health facility, it is the crown jewel of Oregon State’s campus.

The Oregon State Beavers football team represents the Oregon State University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football. The team first fielded an organized football team in 1893 and is a member of the Pac-12 Conference.

The Oregon State University (OSU) is a public land-grant research university based in Corvallis, Oregon (US). The OSU offers more than 200 undergraduate-degree programs along with a variety of graduate and doctoral degrees. It has the seventh-largest engineering college in the United States for 2023.

Indiana (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student-athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. It also organizes the athletic programs of colleges and helps over 500,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, is the highest level of college football in the United States. The FBS consists of the largest schools in the NCAA. As of the 2023 season, there are 10 Conferences and 133 schools in FBS.

San Francisco (US)-based the Pac-12 Conference is a collegiate athletic Conference that operates in the Western United States, participating in 24 sports at the NCAA Division I level. Its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football in the United States.

The 35,548-capacity Reser Stadium is an outdoor athletic stadium in the Northwest United States, on the campus of the Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. It is the home of the Oregon State Beavers of the Pac-12 Conference, and opened 70 years back in 1953 as the Parker Stadium. It was renamed in 1999.

‘The Oregonian’ further stated that the stadium’s remodel is undergoing finishing touches with less than a month left before the Oregon State Beavers first game on September 9th against the UC Davis Aggies football team.

The University of California, Davis, is a public land-grant research university near Davis, California (US). Named a Public Ivy (an informal term to refer to public colleges and universities in the United States), it is the Northernmost of the 10 campuses of the University of California system.

The UC Davis Aggies football team represents the University of California, Davis in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Their residence is the 10,743-capacity UC Davis Health Stadium in California (US).

The NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA, is the second-highest level of college football in the United States, after the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

Said Scott Barnes, OSU Athletic Director, “It’s one of the most relevant stadiums in the country.”

The public will get its first long look at the Reser Stadium during an open house on August 19th from 11 am to 1 pm.

Some of remodeled Reser Stadium highlights:

  • The Reser Stadium’s 360-degree open concourse allows fans sitting in any section to visit the West side and enjoy concessions and watch the game from Beaver Street;
  • The Reser Stadium has significantly increased its food and beverage (F&B) options. The Beaver Street is home to six new concession stands, which include a noodle bar, burgers, sports bar, a grab-and-go, taqueria (a Mexican restaurant specializing in tacos), and general food. The West side has doubled its points of concession from 42 to 84 with the remodel;
  • A couple of the most popular items this season are expected to be Hot Dam Wings, which are buffalo wings with a cilantro lime sauce, and loaded nachos that include carne asada and barbacoa beef;
  • There are 24 new concession items this season, including 16 on Beaver Street;
  • The West side has 160 bathrooms, up from 127 prior to the renovation. There are also nine single-use restrooms;
  • There are 8,925 seats on the remodeled West side, with 2,821 below Beaver Street and 5,430 seats on the upper level. The West side includes 674 premium seats;
  • The official capacity of the Reser Stadium is now 35,548, with the ability to hold beyond 36,000 with standing room tickets;
  • Approximately, 400 tons of structural steel was donated from a third-party project and reused during the remodel;
  • The West side renovation took 305,000 man hours to build;
  • The visitor’s locker room, which moves from Gill Coliseum to Reser, is located underneath the seats in the Northwest corner of the stadium. Teams now depart at halftime and after the game on opposite sides of the field;
  • Some 250 new television screens were installed on the West side; and
  • The wing areas of premium seating, located behind the seats, will include several fire pits for fans to gather during halftime and quarter breaks to eat, drink and meet friends.

The Oregon State is expecting some 10,000 prospective students to visit the Welcome Center each year.

Fiscal Strain

‘y!sports’ stated that inside one of the new premium areas at Oregon State’s renovated football stadium reads a lyric from the school’s fight song – ‘Beavers Beavers Fighters Through and Through’.

The Oregon State is fighting right now. For relevance in a rapidly morphing college sports landscape. For financial certainty. For stability and a place to call home.

Added Barnes, “We continue to work 24/7 to put our student- athletes in Beaver Nation in the highest and best position we can.”

‘y!sports’ further stated that the same is true at the Washington State, the land-grant brethren of Oregon State and the other school that, so far, is being left out in the reshuffling of the Conference affiliations over the past few weeks.

The Houston Cougars (the athletic teams representing the University of Houston) and Beavers appear to be the big losers in the destabilization of the Pac-12 that’s on the brink of collapse. They are the leftovers now stuck searching for a landing spot.

While the Washington Huskies (the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent the University of Washington located in Seattle) and Oregon are headed to the Big Ten, the Arizona Wildcats (the athletic teams that represent the University of Arizona, located in Tucson), the Arizona State and the Utah Utes (the intercollegiate athletics teams that represent the University of Utah located in Salt Lake City) are bound for the Big 12 and the Stanford Cardinal (represents the Stanford University in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level) and the California Golden Bears football (represents the University of California, Berkeley) are talking with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Cougars and Beavers are still trying to find their own stable ground.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a collegiate athletic Conference located in the Eastern United States. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, the ACC’s 15 member-universities compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division I.

The Oregon State and Washington State are tied together in ways beyond their current predicament. They are land-grant universities. They reside in the true college towns of the Pac-12 – Pullman and Corvallis – while the rest of the Conference is mostly in major Metro locations. While they are major research universities, their campuses exude the small-town feel of community.

With the exception of a five-year span in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Oregon State and Washington State have competed in the premier Conference on the West Coast dating to 1917 when the Cougars joined the Pacific Coast Conference.

And in the span of one week that century of history has been upended, creating the current uncertainty for both.

But as much as Barnes and his staff wanted the focus to be entirely on the new features of the Reser Stadium – its plush premium areas, unique concessions experience, a university wellness clinic, and a welcome center to the school – the uncertainty lingered.

For this year, Pac-12 football will be played inside the roughly 36,000-seat stadium. Beyond that? It’s the question players, coaches, fans, and alums are pondering.

The Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith said of his team, “I’m not naïve to not think these guys are reading and wondering and all of that. And as we get information, we’re going to get it to them. But I do feel like the attention to detail from the meetings to the walkthroughs to practice has been really solid. So, it’s not a massive distraction taking away from things. At the same time, yeah, they’re interested to see how it plays out.”

The Washington State is swimming in the same pool of uncertainty and is already in a financial crunch.

The Washington State spent millions in the past decade-plus upping in the infrastructure of its athletic facilities with the expectation that TV revenue would help pay some of those bills. The money from current Pac-12 media rights deal never materialized in the way that was hoped and now the Cougars find themselves facing a potential future with significant financial strain.

The Washington State announced in June that it was facing a $11.5 million deficit in the Athletic Department. And getting left out of the current round of realignment is not going to help that financial picture.

Washington State Coach Jake Dickert told newsmen, “Wherever we go, we’re going to be a flagship institution of whatever Conference that is.”

Back in Corvallis, Barnes did his best to leave Oregon State’s uncertainty back in his office for an hour while showing off all the features of the upgraded stadium. He thanked those that helped make the renovation a reality coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and tried to look forward as best he could knowing the challenges ahead.

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