Design & Development

Penn State selects Populous for Beaver Stadium renovations

Featured image credit: Alex Korolkoff on Unsplash

Pennsylvania State University has selected Populous to design a wide-ranging multi-year renovation of Beaver Stadium, the second largest stadium in the US.

Penn State has also announced the joint venture of Barton Malow, AECOM Hunt and Alexander Building Construction as the construction manager for the project.

Nations Group, a national owner’s representative firm specialising in assisting universities with the project development and construction management phases of athletics projects, has been retained by Penn State as a consultant for the project.

Penn State president Neeli Bendapudi announced in February that Beaver Stadium, which has a capacity of 106,000, will be undergoing a major renovation project. The stadium opened in 1960 and its last major renovation was in 2001.

In May, Penn State Athletics announced plans to install a tunnel club at the stadium. This is separate to the wider renovation project, which will take place over multiple phases.

Bill Sitzabee, vice-president for facilities management and planning and Penn State’s chief facilities officer, said that initial construction work will focus on improving priority safety and security, including crowd traffic control, and addressing field lighting performance.

Winterisation work will also be completed, which will include the insulation of pipes and other upgrades to allow the stadium to be occupied when temperatures are below freezing, giving Penn State the ability to host a College Football Playoff game from 2024, as well as other potential events beyond college football games.

After the 2024 season, Penn State will begin a multi-year 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 founders’ suites.

Other renovations are set to include accessibility upgrades and enhanced fan amenities, such as improved circulation and 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 season.

The project is being financed and paid for entirely by Intercollegiate Athletics, using no tuition dollars or educational budget.

Populous has previous experience of working on college football stadiums having overseen the renovation of Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field. The company is currently working on a new stadium for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

Barton Malow, AECOM Hunt and Alexander Building Construction have a history of working together on multiple sports facilities over the past 20 years. As construction manager, the joint venture team will oversee the on-site renovation work happening at Beaver Stadium.

Patrick Kraft, vice-president for intercollegiate athletics at Penn State, said: “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 NFL stadiums and we know they will provide us with a great plan to make 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.”

Scott Radecic, senior principal and founder at Populous, and a Penn State graduate, added: “Populous is proud to partner with Penn State on a transformational renovation to 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 Beaver Stadium to continue to serve fans for the years to come.”