Phase 1 of OU stadium renovations approved

The OU stadium renovation project will be done in phases and phase one was approved Tuesday.

It’s going to be done in bites, the words University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren used to describe the massive renovations that are going to be done to OU’s football stadium and other athletic facilities.

The first bite was approved by the Board of Regents on Tuesday afternoon, focusing on the design and development elements with an estimated project budget of $160 million geared toward the south end zone.

Originally set at $370 million, the dramatic decrease in the price of oil was a huge reason why OU had to scale back its original plans. Phase 1, however, is still set to be completed before the start of the 2016 season. OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said because it has been approved, work on the project could begin in the next 4-8 weeks.

There will be no state appropriated funds and no tuition will be used to fund the project, which will come only from private gifts and athletic revenues.

“We stated from the beginning that our priorities were student-athletes and fans, and this work allows us to serve both of those groups,” Boren said. “We have taken the prudent step of phasing the project, which enables us to take a reasonable approach to construction and funding.”

The south end zone is a huge priority of the phase in making it a bowl that will help increase the seating capacity to more than 84,000.

“This project reflects our goals of providing a world class facility for our student-athletes and adding more opportunities to engage fans and create memorable experiences for them,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said.

Castiglione said fundraising and sales have gone well for the project and said fan support has not diminished one bit for the project.

The original design concepts included work on the west side of the stadium. Castiglione and Boren both said there is not a timetable for when that phase of the project will begin.

So what does Phase 1 include?

*New locker room, strength and conditioning room, training room, nutrition center, meeting rooms and equipment operation

*Weight room will nearly triple in size to 26,600 square feet and will include a 70-yard indoor turfed speed and agility training area

*Athletic training room will grow to nearly 10,000 square feet

*Third floor of the building will house all of the football offices and the team’s video department

*Seating bowl will feature an expanded concourse, additional restrooms and concessions

*Twenty-two suites, 60 open-air loge boxes and 1,976 club seats

*Two open-air fan plazas, measuring at slightly more than 3,000 square feet each and feature a view directly to the field

“As is always the case, we’re taking a responsible approach to our projects,” Castiglione said. “As the funding becomes available and the schedule permits the work on additional elements of the master plan will progress.”

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