Will Penn State build a new football stadium to replace Beaver Stadium?

Beaver Stadium remains a very active part of Penn State’s long-term plan for its athletic facilities, with the key term being “long-term,” according to athletic director Sandy Barbour.

“I do not know that [fans are] going to see something tangible in the immediate future [regarding Beaver Stadium]”, Barbour said this week. “Actually, I know they’re not. But they’ll start hearing about the timeline to see that.”

Barbour recently announced that she will be retiring this summer after eight years as Penn State’s athletic director. Penn State has begun a nationwide search for Barbour’s successor, for whom the future of Beaver Stadium will be a key decision point.

Barbour in 2017 introduced the Penn State Athletics Facilities Master Plan, a 20-year project to modernize the department’s sporting footprint. Beaver Stadium is central to this plan, as Penn State intends to either renovate the nation’s second-largest stadium, which has stood at its current location since 1960, or build a new site.

Penn State, in conjunction with design firm Populous, conducted a concept study to determine options for the future of Beaver Stadium. As part of this study, Penn State recently surveyed season ticket holders and other groups to gauge their interests regarding the gaming experience.

The survey asked about amenities such as suites and club boxes and took fans’ temperatures on renovation or new construction. Barbour said the survey aimed to gauge fan appetite for various products and “what people might consider paying for it.” Penn State said that “all options are considered” regarding the future of Beaver Stadium.

“I would say the Beaver Stadium play is in the timeline that we thought,” Barbour said. “We never thought it would be in the top five [years of the master plan]. It required a track and time to accomplish and undertake the studies and do the kinds of things that you need to be ready for that.”

A rendering of a potential Beaver Stadium renovation from the 2017 Athletics Facilities Master Plan.

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Although she hasn’t met all of her facility goals in the past five years, which COVID-19 has certainly had an impact, Barbour highlighted renovations to the Lasch Football Building, Morgan Academic Center and Panzer Stadium, lacrosse facility, as major achievements.

Barbour added that the athletic department has made progress with donors regarding more donations for facility projects.

“I know my successor will continue to encourage these people to make facilities a priority,” Barbour said.

As for Beaver Stadium, Barbour has left the door open to a variety of options over a long period. She added: “Yeah, I can’t wait to come back in a while and see the renovated Beaver Stadium.”

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AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, views and insights on the SI.com Network. Editor Mark Wogenrich covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching teams, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And remember to subscribe (button on the home page) for more quality content on the SI.com network.

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