Penn State Beaver Stadium FAQ: What We Know About the $700 Million Renovation

A look at the plan, budget and timeline for the massive renovation of Beaver Stadium, home of the Nittany Lions.
A proposed rendering of Penn State's Beaver Stadium renovations, which are scheduled to be completed in 2027.
A proposed rendering of Penn State's Beaver Stadium renovations, which are scheduled to be completed in 2027. / Courtesy Penn State

Penn State's Board of Trustees recently toured Beaver Stadium, the 64-year-old home of Penn State football, and some were shocked by its condition. One trustee called the tour "eye-opening." Another was "embarrassed."

"It's current state is not what we would wish to represent the PSU image, and we want to portray an improved stadium," trustee Lynn Dietrich said Tuesday. "It looks weathered and worn and is in need of our help and attention now."

Penn State's trustees moved to address those concerns Tuesday, approving a $700 million plan to renovate Beaver Stadium, the nation's second-largest venue. Penn State will spend three years undertaking what it has called a "total transformation" of the stadium's West side, replacing the current bleacher seats and press box with club seats, suites and a new press and broadcast facility. Beaver Stadium will undergo significant renovations to increase the number of restrooms and concession stands, widen concourses, improve technology and add a "Welcome Center" with 21,000 square feet of event space.

"By making these renovations, Beaver Stadium would be one of the only multi-use entertainment facilities at this scale between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh," Penn State Athletic Director Patrick Kraft told the board.

So what's Penn State's plan, timeline and budget for Beaver Stadium? Here's the FAQ about what we know.

"Beaver Stadium should be more than just average, more than just comparable to others. It should be a model for the college and the NFL world, with innovation, experiences that are different and exciting technology."

Patrick Kraft, Penn State AD

What is Penn State doing to Beaver Stadium?

Penn State plans a major overhaul of Beaver Stadium over the next three years. The renovation addresses significant infrastructure and maintenance needs, of which Penn State says there's a $200 million backlog. That includes winterization, necessary to host a College Football Playoff game, repairing or replacing aging steel supports, concrete sealing and coating, replacing the videoboard, upgrading electrical facilities and increasing commercial kitchen space.

Penn State will widen concourses across Beaver Stadium, nearly quadrupling some spaces from 15 to 50-55 feet. It will install 24 new elevators and 12 new escalators. Restroom capacity will be increased by 15 percent and concession stands by 70 percent.

Beaver Stadium's West side will undergo the most substantial change. Basically, it's being demolished and replaced. First, the press box and upper deck of the West stands will come down in 2025. Penn State will replace the lower bowl in 2026. The West side will house club seats, loge boxes and suites.

The West side of Beaver Stadium also will house a new "Welcome Center," which Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi said would create a "front-door experience" for the university. The center will include 21,000 square feet of new event space, giving Beaver Stadium more year-round utility.

RELATED: Penn State Trustees approve $700 million Beaver Stadium renovation plan

A rendering of the West side of Penn State's Beaver Stadium, which will undergo a significant renovation over the next three years.
A rendering of the West side of Penn State's Beaver Stadium, which will undergo a significant renovation over the next three years. / Courtesy Penn State

What's the timeline for the Beaver Stadium renovation?

Penn State will renovate Beaver Stadium in three phases, the first of which is underway. Penn State has begun the winterization project so the stadium could host a possible College Football Playoff game in December 2024. Phase 1 also includes some of the restroom and fan-circulation upgrades, a new ribbon board and videoboard and enhancements to Gate F.

Phase 2 begins in 2025, when the press box and upper section of the stadium's West side will be demolished. Kraft said they will be replaced with a "superstructure" housing suites and club seating.

Phase 3 begins in 2026, when the lower-bowl seating on the West side will be removed and replaced with club seating. The entire project is scheduled for completion in time for the 2027 college football season.

RELATED: One Penn State trustee says the university "can't afford" the Beaver Stadium renovations.

What will Beaver Stadium's capacity be after the renovation?

Penn State has not released an official capacity, but Kraft said Beaver Stadium's seating would remain above 100,000 after the renovation. Capacity currently is 106,572. During Tuesday's board meeting, one trustee referenced Beaver Stadium losing about 900 seats to the renovation.

"We will be over 100,000 for sure," Kraft said in an interview Tuesday. "We will continue to evaluate that. We want to have as big a stadium as we can. We want everyone to be able to have an opportunity to come to the games, and over 100,000 fans is really important. It’s part of our DNA."

How will the Beaver Stadium renovation impact fans?

Two seasons will be affected, particularly for those who sit on the West side. Kraft said that Penn State will install temporary bleachers for the 2025-26 seasons while the structure is being built. Officials said they intend for the construction's impact to be "minimal."

How is Penn State paying for the Beaver Stadium renovation?

Penn State athletics is self-funding, meaning the athletic department does not use tuition dollars, university funds or state appropriations to pay for its 31 varsity teams. Penn State Athletics will fund the project through bond issues (it took the first last year for $70 million), philanthropy and new revenue streams. Penn State estimated donor opportunities at $134.3 million, including a potential $80 million in Founder's Suite donations.

Sara Thorndike, Penn State senior vice president for finance & business/treasurer, told trustees that the project could come in at $664 million and that the total budget will not exceed $700 million.

"We have stress-tested multiple scenarios within the renovation [plan]," Thorndike said in an interview. "We are sure that we have enough revenue sources, both from the athletics budget but also the new incremental revenues, to ensure that we could pay back as much as $700 million, even though that's not what we're intending."

What they're saying about the Beaver Stadium renovation

Patrick Kraft, Penn State Athletic Director: "There have been no major improvements to Beaver Stadium since 2001, whereas many of our peers in the Big Ten Conference and around the country have made significant financial investments to enhance their home stadiums. We are behind, both in fixing the necessary structural needs within the stadium and what we provide our fans. It is time for Penn State to catch up with its peers. Beaver Stadium should be more than just average, more than just comparable to others. It should be a model for the college and the NFL world, with innovation, experiences that are different and exciting technology. If we fail to act, we will face significant infrastructure issues in the years ahead. The costs of repair will only increase. To put it simply, renovations to Beaver Stadium are long overdue. It’s time to act, and that time is now."

Neeli Bendapudi, Penn State President: "Most Penn Staters think of Beaver Stadium as the home of our football program, and we are very, very excited about the potential of these changes to take the gameday experience to a new level. But frankly, our objectives go much further than that. Investing in Beaver Stadium will continue to fuel all of our sports. It will create the front-door experience for the community, a front door that welcomes everybody, including all prospective students and families, the community as well as, of course, visiting athletic recruits. It will transform the fan and community experience, leveraging our already extremely strong brand for everyone who visits our campus. It will prioritize environmental stewardship. And it will provide an opportunity to generate new revenue streams."

Carolyn Kieger, Penn State women's basketball coach: "The impact renovations to Beaver Stadium will have on our community and sports programs will be transformative. I have zero doubts it will be game-changing in terms of recruiting. Attracting top talent to Happy Valley will help us continue to build our Penn State brand. This will help all teams compete on a national level."

AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich.


Published |Modified
Mark Wogenrich

MARK WOGENRICH

Mark Wogenrich is Editor and Publisher of AllPennState, the site for Penn State news on SI's FanNation Network. He has covered Penn State sports for more than two decades across three coaching staffs and three Rose Bowls.