$12 Million Upgrades to Football Facilities May Come Soon

Massive changes may be coming soon to the Lasch Football Building, to the tune of $12 million.

According to a project named “Lasch Football Building Locker/Equipment Room Renovations” posted on the university’s Office of Physical Plant website, the office has requested a total budget of $12 million to upgrade facilities and integrate more extensive branding.

The mission statement, written by Crawford Architects and graphic design firm Advent, following a two-month collaboration with Penn State, reads that “there are a number of functional requirements that are not being met in a number of areas. Further, it is desired that themed graphics and building systems such as integrated video and sound be upgraded.”

Though still tentative, the project would begin in January 2015 and be finished in June of 2016. Listed on the Office of Physical Plant website is a noon, Jan. 12, 2015 due date for the project proposal.

The executive summary lists upgrades to many of the building’s features, including the nutrition bar, locker room, equipment room, weight rooms, player lounges, and James Franklin’s office.

In the locker room proposal, the summary requests, “Update branding. Create WOW factor.” Numerous other parts of the building, including the head coach’s office, even the hallways, suggest a similar “WOW” factor.

The Design Concept, subtitled “The Experience,” includes an “amplify the culture clause,” writing that “Happy Valley is unique place. “107 Strong is apparent on Saturdays at Beaver Stadium. That pride and passion should be reflected within the space.” Many of the proposals reinforce Franklin’s, and Penn State’s, mission of rebuilding and rebranding the football team in this post-Sandusky era. “The branding should speak into the new culture of this coaching staff and showcase the vision for future of the program,” it reads.

The document lists the University of Oregon, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State University as precedent facilities, and notes this new age of college football. “Coach Franklin has requested this be a top tier facility in the country,” the document states. “The millennial generation is very different from previous generations. They have grown up with a camera in their face. They do not know life without the internet. To be successful at a high level it is important PSU consider upgrading the entire facility. This will allow PSU to communicate your story in a meaningful and memorable way to a recruit and parents, student-athletes, donors, alumni, faculty and staff. When you walk through the doors you will clearly understand the vision, the standard of excellence, and the unique culture.”

While this new-age facelift would alter the appearance of many parts of the football facilities, the document is sure to note the lasting influence of Joe Paterno. “Coach Paterno requested the stadium design to expose the steel structure. One to make it more imposing and two to make it feel blue collar. This was intended to be a reminder to the players that this is a place of work. The design incorporates the exposed steel and cables into the design to give a nod back to the renowned Beaver Stadium.”

These wouldn’t be the first recent upgrades to the Lasch Building. In August, the Paul Stecko family donated $1 million to upgrade the locker rooms, while Michael Farrell pledged the same amount to the Football Excellence Fund to rename the team auditorium within the Lasch Building earlier this month.

Lasch Locker Room – Revised

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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