Oklahoma Scales Down Stadium Renovation Project
With donations drying up in the face of a tough oil and gas climate, the University of Oklahoma has been forced to scale back their renovation plans to the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The University of Oklahoma President, David Boren, announced that the Sooners have scaled back their dollar renovation to Gaylord Memorial Stadium. The revised plan, approved a $160 million, is down almost $200 Million from the original renovation plan.
In January is was rumored that OU would be delaying the renovation, but Boren dismissed the rumors at the time. This week though, the school’s President has admitted he was skeptical whether or not the project would even begin.
“I was skeptical myself,” Boren said according to the Tulsa World. “The jury was out with me even if we could move forward with this first phase. But the resiliency of the fan base — the strong support from them and the athletic department revenues — have convinced me that this is very doable.”
The university cites decline in oil revenue as the cause for downsizing the ambitious renovation.
“We’re all part of the economy. What happens, it’s ebb and flow, and the fact that we have said from day one that any and all of the stadium construction we fund has to come from private sources,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “So we have to be mindful of those key stakeholders that currently or in the future will fund the aspects of our program that we’re trying to improve. We’re also mindful of our own operational budget and the sources of revenue required to make it work …
“We’re one of the six remaining programs in the United States that are truly self-sustaining. We have to keep all of that in mind as we’re being good stewards of our financial resources.”
Now the school plans to break the project into two phases. In the first phase the south end zone will be filled in to form a bowl, pushing capacity to 84,000. Construction is scheduled to being in four to six weeks, with the first phase set to be complete by the 2016 season. The second phase won’t be so obvious to the general public. A portion of the current South end zone will be renovated with a new locker room, training room, strength and conditioning room, nutrition center, and more. However, there is no timetable set for the second phase.
“Maybe when the oil prices get back up and stay stable for a while and the economy is back on its usual footing, that’s when we’ll make a decision on the second phase,” Boren said. “It’s kind of the same thing in reverse.”
– Cover Photo: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium | Flickr | Brian Wallace