Onward Debates: Should Penn State Renovate Or Rebuild Beaver Stadium?

Beaver Stadium is set to undergo a multi-phase renovation that could possibly start as soon as next year.

Plans to renovate the home of Penn State football have been in the works since Penn State Athletics announced the facilities master plan back in 2017. Now that the next Board of Trustees meeting will reportedly outline the first phase of renovations, conversations have started as to whether Penn State should keep its plans to renovate the stadium or completely rebuild it.

With that in mind, two of our staffers debated what the university should do.

Frankie Marzano: Build A New Stadium

There’s no place like Beaver Stadium, but it’s time for a new stadium to be built. If you’re going to drop about $1.5 billion just to renovate an existing stadium, why not build a new one? To the naked eye, it does seem feasible. Penn State can probably just start construction on a new stadium right next to the existing one, similar to what the New York Mets did with Shea Stadium and Citi Field.

I also believe that renovating the stadium limits what Penn State can do to make it better. There’s only so much you can do with an existing structure that has been in place for 63 years. If the goal is to maximize the fans’ experience — assuming it will cost the same — I think rebuilding the stadium ultimately is the way to go.

Connor Krause: Renovate Beaver Stadium’s Existing Structure

Could you imagine the uproar if Duke demolished Cameron Indoor Arena and built a new basketball arena? Or, what if the Green Bay Packers front office developed plans for a new stadium at the expense of Lambeau Field?

The same ripple effect would immediately show its teeth among current Penn State students, alumni, and football lettermen if the university’s administration, athletic department, and Board of Trustees elected to tear down Beaver Stadium.

Of course, fans will congregate in Happy Valley no matter where the Nittany Lions take the gridiron at home on fall Saturdays. But, no matter how enticing modern bells and whistles are, fans ultimately head to Beaver Stadium for its gameday experience — not for the accessibility of fancy amenities.

Since 1960, Beaver Stadium has served as one of college football’s most recognizable structures, even throughout six expansion efforts during the program’s rise to prominence under Joe Paterno’s lead. The last renovation, which took place in 2001, added nearly 17,000 seats above the stadium’s south end zone, which proved to be a worthwhile change despite initially receiving backlash for blocking Mount Nittany’s view.

While the goals of the next inevitable construction period are different, the sentiment will likely remain the same. No matter what Beaver Stadium contains, or lacks, from a consessions and amentities standpoint, it undoubtedly carries its weight with the field of play in view. Over 107,000 fans clad in unity wouldn’t feel right anywhere else but at Beaver Stadium.

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