Donations pour in for Reser Stadium revamp



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US Oregon State University Reser Stadium renovation Image: osubeavers.com

To help remodel Oregon State University’s (OSU) Reser Stadium (US) into a national pick of the litter football facility, an anonymous donor has made a whopping amount of $50 million lead gift. This would enable the arena to hold year-round programs and facilities for all OSU students, faculty and staff.

osubeavers.com sources stated that the $153 million development which will fully refurbish the venue’s West side, received nod from the OSU Board of Trustees Finance and Administration Committee on January 28th, 2021, to enter into the design phase. Plans call for final go-ahead for the project to be considered by the Board of Trustees at its meeting to be held in the month of May.

The 45,674-capacity Reser Stadium is an outdoor athletic stadium in the Northwest United States, on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. It is the home of the Oregon State Beavers of the Pac-12 Conference, and opened 68 years ago in 1953 as Parker Stadium.

The $50 million gift to the OSU Foundation is solely devoted to the Reser Stadium project and equals the largest donation ever to Oregon State University. In the last four years, the varsity has received a $50 million gift from alumnus Gary Carlson to name the Gary R. Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, and another anonymous $25 million gift to help in setting up a $70 million Arts and Education Complex scheduled to begin in Fall.

When greenlighted, construction would begin pronto following the 2021 football season to facilitate the project to be completed on time for the start of OSU’s 2023 football season. OSU will continue to play at Reser Stadium during the construction phase.

“This lead gift represents significant momentum in advancing this transformative project for all of Oregon State University,” exulted OSU President F. King Alexander.

Added Alexander, “Thanks to the leadership and generosity of many, philanthropy continues to advance Beaver athletics and all of Oregon State University. This national best-in-class stadium will serve all of our university’s students, faculty and staff; will provide for an enviable fan experience on gamedays, and will continue OSU’s significant investments in Beaver football and in athletics programs for all OSU student-athletes.”

The development entails the complete tearing down and rehabilitating of the West side of Reser Stadium and the construction of year-round university facilities, including a new futuristic interactive welcome center for new students considering attending OSU, new health center facilities for Corvallis campus students, healthcare facilities for OSU faculty and staff, and additional meeting space for university students, faculty and staff.

osubeavers.com sources added that completing Reser Stadium will be funded purely through philanthropy, premium seating revenue, space lease revenues and other revenues from the stadium and new facilities. Apart from the $50 million gift, a separate anonymous gift of $10.5 million has been made to the project along with other Reser Stadium gifts to the OSU Foundation. The project has set an overall fundraising goal of $85 million and so far has raised $64.5 million.

Once completed, Reser Stadium will offer new premium and general seating options on the West side that will allow spectators a close view of the playing field – a first in any college football stadium in the country. This information was given by Scott Barnes, University Vice-President and Director of OSU Athletics.

Reser Stadium will also boast a 360-degree stadium concourse and include expanded concessions and restroom facilities, better sightlines, accessibility improvements and other fan facilities which will be at par with the East side of Reser, which was repurposed prior to the 2005 season, Barnes further informed.

Added Barnes, “I am grateful for our donors’ incredible generosity and enthusiasm for this project. By completing Reser now we ensure the long-term financial sustainability for the OSU Athletics Department and all student-athletes. Increased revenue will provide financial stability throughout OSU Athletics where 70 percent of the revenues required to operate 17 women and men’s varsity sports are generated from football and Reser Stadium activities.”

Barnes continued, “We surveyed Beaver Nation to explore and identify the most in-demand facilities, spaces and experiences. This project meets that demand. It will not be an expansion of stadium seating, but rather a right-sizing of desired experiences and amenities to greatly improve the fan experience during games. Meanwhile, completing Reser Stadium will enhance the recruitment of student-athletes and students to Oregon State University generally, while supporting and strengthening our opportunity for football success in the Pac-12 Conference and nationally.”

Oregon State Head Football Coach Jonathan Smith remarked, “This is a game changer for our football program. We want to show our recruits that Reser Stadium is intertwined within our community and campus every day of the year. As we bring families and recruits to campus, they will see the construction of the stadium and see the momentum of this program.”

Added Smith, “The level of support this program, our Athletic Department and the university receives from Beaver Nation is always impressive. I’m so grateful to everyone who is contributing to make this project a reality.”

Alexander informed that the state-of-the-art student welcome center will serve as the first on-campus point of connection to welcome prospective new students and their families to OSU. The center will sit within the Southwest corner of the stadium.

Added Alexander, “This center will help support efforts to attract and keep our best and brightest students in Oregon. And attract the best and brightest students from other States and nations to enroll at Oregon State University.”

An approximate 35,000-square-foot wellness facility for students will be housed on the southeastern corner of Reser Stadium. The varsity is weighing the pros and cons of a partnership with a private company to provide wellness services to OSU employees and community members.

Oregon State University Foundation leaders applauded the philanthropy being provided to complete the Reser project, the overall university and OSU Athletics.

Stated Shawn L. Scoville, President and Chief Executive, Office of the OSU Foundation, “These gifts are the most recent example of the incredible fundraising momentum that Oregon State University has experienced since the 2014 completion of the Campaign for OSU, which raised $1.14 billion. The university has received its largest three gifts in history in the last four years. Our most generous donors are inspired by OSU’s vision and want to be a transformative part of its trajectory, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

“We are thrilled by these lead gifts,” said John Stirek, Chair, OSU Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Stirek and his wife, Kate, are serving as volunteer leaders for the Completing Reser Stadium fundraising effort and have made a $2.5 million gift to the project.

Added Stirek, “For years, donors have expressed interest in the role that a completed stadium would play in elevating the entire university. These lead gifts are an affirmation of that enthusiasm, positioning us well to meet our $85 million fundraising goal for the project.”

Completing Reser Stadium by reconfiguring the West side is included in OSU’s 10-year capital forecast.

Reser Stadium was built in 1953 at an expense of $330,000 with a seating capacity of 28,000. After OSU played in the 1965 Rose Bowl, additional end zone bleacher seats were added to increase the capacity of the stadium to 33,000. The stadium was expanded to 40,593 in 1967 with additions to the West side, including a revamped press box.

The stadium capacity was reduced in 1990 after construction of the original Valley Football Center. In June of 1996, an enlarged Valley Football Center opened. The center was expanded again in 2017. The East side of Reser Stadium was renovated prior to the 2005 season and included a double-decked grandstand featuring chair-backed seats, 22 luxury suites, a club area, and a loge area that includes a game-day restaurant and premium stadium box seating areas. In 2016, the Terrace was introduced to Reser Stadium, leaving fans spoilt for choice showcasing premier food and beverages from throughout Oregon.

The East side of Reser Stadium seating closest to the playing field features Oregon State’s student section, stretching from end zone to end zone.

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