Populous to primp-preen Beaver Stadium



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Populous will renovate Penn State Beaver Stadium Image: Populous and Penn State Athletics

After a competitive process, the Penn State (Pennsylvania State University) has announced its architect – Populous – and Construction Manager – a joint venture of Barton Malow, AECOM Hunt and Alexander – as selections for the multiyear, multiphase Beaver Stadium (Pennsylvania, US) renovation project.

‘POPULOUS’ stated that with significant expertise in stadium renovations, the Nations Group served as a key consultant in assisting with these selections.

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State or PSU) is a public research university in the United States. It was founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. In 1863, it became the State’s only land-grant university.

Kansas City (US)-based Populous is a global architectural and design practice specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events.

Michigan (US)-based Barton Malow is a construction company that specializes in building commercial and institutional projects. They are one of the 20 largest construction firms in the United States.

The AECOM Hunt is a construction company that builds large and complex projects. Founded in 1944 in Indianapolis, Indiana (US), the AECOM Hunt has been building for over 75 years. They are known for building iconic stadiums and arenas.

The Alexander Building Construction is a construction company in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (US). They provide construction management, design and general contracting services.

The 106,572-capacity Beaver Stadium is an outdoor college football stadium on the campus of the Pennsylvania State University in the Penn State University Park. It has been home to the Penn State Nittany Lions of the Big Ten Conference since 1960, though some parts of the stadium date back to 1909.

Scottsdale (US)-based the Nations Group is a professional services development firm that focuses on financing, management, planning, and execution of real estate development projects. They offer comprehensive project management, project development and project finance solutions.

Put in Patrick Kraft, Vice-President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Pennsylvania State University, “We are excited to partner with these top-tier firms for the Beaver Stadium renovations. These companies have a strong history of both renovating and building college football and National Football League (NFL) stadiums and we know they will provide us with a great plan to make the Beaver Stadium an even greater beacon for our University and department. We know these groups will preserve the history of Beaver Stadium while bringing it to a more updated and fan-friendly venue.”

‘POPULOUS’ further stated that as a global design firm with extensive experience in designing sports and entertainment venues, Populous was selected as architect of the Beaver Stadium renovation for its background in creating iconic shared human experiences that serve campuses and communities around the world. Other recent projects from Populous include the renovated 102,733-capacity Kyle Field at the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and the new Buffalo Bills (NFL team) stadium, which is currently under construction.

The new Buffalo Bills stadium is called the Highmark Stadium. It’s presently under construction in Orchard Park, New York. The stadium is expected to open in time for the 2026 NFL season.

Stated Scott Radecic, Senior Principal and Founder at Populous, and a Penn State graduate and former captain of the football team, “Populous is proud to partner with the Penn State on a transformational renovation to the Beaver Stadium, reimagining and innovating the fan experience of one of the most iconic venues in college football. Our team will work hand-in-hand with the university to design and bring to life the spirit and tradition of Penn State, while setting up the Beaver Stadium to continue to serve fans for the years to come.”

Spearheading the construction of the stadium’s multifaceted renovations will be a joint venture among Barton Malow, AECOM Hunt and the Alexander Building Construction. The three companies have a rich history of working together on multiple athletic facilities over the past 20 years. As Construction Manager, the joint venture team will oversee the onsite renovation work happening at the Beaver Stadium.

Scott Mull, Project Executive from Barton Malow, who is also Penn State alum and a State College resident, said he is thrilled to lead this exciting project, “This project has been years-in-the-making. To renovate the Beaver Stadium is a passion project for many of us. Our team is eager to deliver a revitalized facility with fan-facing innovation and premium amenities while still honoring and preserving the legacy and traditions of Penn State football.”

The Nations Group, a national Owner’s Representative firm specializing in assisting universities with the project development and construction management phases of athletic projects, has been retained by the university as a Consultant for the project.

The Owner’s Representative is an industry expert hired by the owner of a building or facility project to act as the Owner’s advocate and represent their best interests.

Commented Chris Nations, Nations Group President, “Our team is honored to be a part of the Beaver Stadium renovation project. In conjunction with the Penn State Athletics and University administration, we will create a transformational stadium project to enhance the gameday experience for all fans, generate revenues that are necessary for Intercollegiate Athletics and create multiuse space and development. In doing so, we will be setting a new standard for college football stadiums.”

Added Bill Sitzabee, Vice-President for Facilities Management and Planning and Penn State’s Chief Facilities Officer, “The external partners and the internal team members are now fully equipped and excited to get started on this large, complex project.”

Sitzabee noted that the initial construction will focus on improving priority safety and security, including crowd traffic control, and addressing field lighting performance. Winterization work will also be completed, which entails the insulation of pipes and other upgrades to allow the building to be occupied when temperatures are below freezing, giving Penn State the ability to host a College Football Playoff game beginning in 2024 and other potential events beyond football games in the Winter months, increasing revenue at the university and in the Center Region.

At the conclusion of the 2024 football season the Penn State will begin a multiyear effort to reconstruct the West side of the stadium, which will maintain traditional bowl-style seating while adding anticipated club and loge seats and executive and founder’s suites. The additional anticipated renovations throughout the facility include ongoing code upgrades, accessibility improvements and upgraded fan amenities. These involve improved circulation to ease spectator congestion throughout the stadium, improved restrooms, upgraded concessions, Wi-Fi and cellular upgrades, and additional seating options. Construction is expected to begin in January 2025 and wrap up ahead of the 2027 football season.

This multiyear project is financed and paid for entirely by the Intercollegiate Athletics, using no tuition dollars or educational budget.

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