The seventh expansion of Beaver Stadium, which boosts capacity to 106,537 seats, was unveiled against Miami. The stadium's capacity is the nation's second-largest, topped only by Michigan Stadium (107,501).
Work began on the $93 million project in November, 1999 immediately following the last home game. On August 23, the stadium was turned over to the University after passing the Department of Labor and Industry inspection.
The expansion and renovation project has added a second deck in the South end zone as well as an East side pavilion with 60 enclosed suites. A club level seating section (4,000 seats) and stadium club, the Mount Nittany Lounge are included in the South stands.
The project dramatically improved the stadium's infrastructure, with approximately $40 million spent on improving the existing structure. Among the features are new restrooms (72) and concession stands; a new upper concourse around the stadium at the 60th row; expanded lower concourses for easier traffic flow into and out of the seating area; upgraded spaces for the team, game officials, media, cheerleaders and other game-day activities; an upgraded game day ticket office; televisions throughout the concourse; two video replay scoreboards and improvements to meet ADA standards and a new facade.
The stadium also features the first escalators in Centre County and a one ton copper plate weathervane likeness of the Nittany Lion. The weathervane is 10 feet in length, three feet in width and nine feet in height and is located 110 feet above the southwest corner of the stadium.
More than 1,600 personnel, including more than 1,200 skilled workers, worked more than 780,000 man hours on the stadium project.
On game days, more than 107,000 spectators will be able to watch the Lions, with the throng comprising the third-largest municipality in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Beaver Stadium has more than doubled in size since it was moved from its former west campus site just northeast of Rec Hall to the east side of campus in 1960. The addition of a 10,033-seat upper deck in the north end zone in 1991 and portable seats on the north end zone concourse has maintained the stadium's stature as one of the largest in the nation.
In 1980, an expansion project raised the seating capacity to 83,770. Lights were added in 1984 and the addition of walkways around the top of the end zones and entry ramps at the four corners resulsted in lowering the capacity to 83,370.
Penn State dedicated Beaver Stadium with a 20-0 win against Boston University on Sept. 17, 1960. Nittany Lion halfback Eddie Caye scored the stadiums first touchdown at 10:45 of the first quarter.
Built in a horseshoe configuration seating 46,284, the stadium now towers 110 rows on the east side, 100 rows on the west, 60 in the end zones and 35 in the upper deck.
Additions of over 2,000 seats in 1969 and more than 9,000 in 1974 raised the capacity to 57,536. Expanded bleachers in the south end zone in 1976 increased seating to 60,203.
A unique expansion during the winter, spring and summer of 1978 added more than 16,000 seats, bringing the capacity to 76,639. The stadium was cut into sections, raised eight feet by hydraulic jacks and precast concrete seating forms inserted within the inner circle of the stadium, where the running track previously had been located. Penn States first permanent home for football was Beaver Field, located between the present-day Osmond and Frear laboratories in center campus. Before that, games were played on the lawn of Old Main.
The first game at 500-seat Beaver Field was played on Nov. 6, 1893 against Western University of Pittsburgh (later to become the University of Pittsburgh). The game, won 32-0 by Penn State, was delayed two days because of bad weather and played on a Monday afternoon.
New Beaver Field, located adjacent to Rec Hall, was opened in 1909 with the Nittany Lions defeating Grove City, 31-0. The area also contained facilities for baseball, lacrosse, soccer and track. New Beaver Field was the Nittany Lions home through the 1959 season, after which the 30,000-seat stadium was dismantled and moved in 700 pieces one mile to the east end of campus. The old stadium was reassembled with 16,000 additional seats to form Beaver Stadium.
The stadium is named in honor of James A. Beaver. A lawyer in nearby Bellefonte at the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Union Army and rose to the rank of brigadier general prior to his discharge in 1864. Beaver, who died in 1914, served as a superior court judge, governor of Pennsylvania and president of the Universitys Board of Trustees. He is credited with being among the most influential leaders in the development of the University at the turn of the century.
Source: Penn State University Sports Information Office
David Lingenfelter States: As a Penn State Alum, there's a few facts about Beaver Stadium you might want to include. I'm no expert, so you might want to check with Penn State to confirm this (just in case it's legend & not fact) before actually doing anything with it.
Beaver Stadum was not originally built in its current location. It was a much smaller stadum located where the Business Administration Building now stands. Those seats were wood. It was disassembled and moved to its current location some years ago. You can still see the wooden seats in the current stadum. The more modern part of the stadum is unusual, in that it is completely portable. It's just a superstructure that can
be unbolted & moved (if you had the inclination). The neat part is that, given its relatively lightweight construction, is that the whole bloody thing shakes like crazy when the crowd gets into a game. My first time there was the Nebraska game in 1982, & let me tell you, it's quite an experience!
On May 27, 1998 Brian Thompson (Penn State Class of 1999) writes: The Penn State Board of Trustees recently approved plans to increase the seating capacity of Beaver Stadium by approximatly 10,000 seats. Plans also call for an upgraded press box and luxury boxes. The primary addition will be chairback seats in a new upper deck that will mirror the upper deck added in 1992 or 1993. The story broke about two weeks ago, and supposedly project consultants include Coopers and Lybrand and HOK Sport.
May 13, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures
Pennsylvania State University plans to add 10,000 more seats to Beaver Stadium this fall after the football season closes. The school will also add 60 luxury suites and a sports museum. The work will be complete by the 2001 season. The $67 million project will
be partially funded with revenue from the suites, which hold 12 persons each. Other funding sources have not been announced.
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
October 4, 2003 - The first thing that impresses you about Beaver Stadium is that it is big... really really BIG. The most recent renovation and expansion of the facility brought capacity up to almost 107,000, making it the second largest football stadium in the country.
Getting to State College means driving through one of the most picturesque parts of the country - the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Drive east or west along I-80 and signs will direct you right into State College and Lion country. But don't expect your municipal college campus and sports facilities side by side here, for the stadium and the adjoining Bryce Jordan Center are on the outskirts of town, and surrounded by a highway network and plenty of parking lots. So of course, those parking lots are packed with rabid tailgaters, and the decorated cars, trucks and RVs can be seen from miles away when heading towards the venue.
Joe Paterno is the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, but he is really much much more than that. Paterno has been involved with PSU football for over half a century, and has been the program's head coach since 1966. During that time, he has piled up the most wins of any college coach in history, a record that continues to climb. He has led the team to 20 post season bowl appearances, 7 undefeated seasons and two national championships (1982 and 1986). His program with his players stresses academic achievement and success in life, and that has translated into success on the football field. "JoPa" is the most recognizable citizen around these parts, and more than anyone else, he has made his mark on Penn State like no one else has.
The team is struggling this season, uncharacteristic for a team used to winning, and some sense that an era may draw to a close soon. When it does, college football as a whole will be less than it was.
The most recent renovation to Beaver Stadium did more than just add seats. Two huge decks were added to each end zone (picture above) and these decks are connected to a club seats and concourse configuration. Three levels of suites were added to one sideline, and the state of the art All Sports Museum was opened in 2002, a nice two level facility saluting the finest athletes and teams to play at Penn State. The premium seating options are growing trend in big money Division 1 sports.
Our visit to Penn State University became an extraordinary one thanks to the kindness and hospitality of Assistant Coach JAY PATERNO, to whom we owe a huge thanks. Jay emailed us during the past offseason, extending an invitation to come visit Penn State. Jay set us up with perfect 50 yard line seats, VIP passes to the recruiting lounge, where we got to enjoy a delicious buffet brunch, lots of *ahem* attention from the friendly recruiting girls, and then a walk on the field to take pictures and a visit to the locker room after the game.
Unfortunately the USRT Karma did not come through on a day we so wanted it to. Penn State missed 2 field goals, an extra point, and special teams gaffes resulted in a 30-23 win by the visiting Wisconsin Badgers, sending most of the crowd home disappointed.
THANK YOU JAY for a most memorable day and one that we will never forget!
September 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Smoking has also been banned at Beaver Stadium at Pennsylvania State University. Penn State previously allowed smoking on the ground level outdoor areas of the stadium, but now the college has taken the steps to make the stadium, which seats more than 107,000 people, completely non-smoking.
PATERNO DECLINED STADIUM NAMING HONOR
April 26, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures
State College, Pa. - Joe Paterno never wanted Beaver Stadium or the football field where he led
the Nittany Lions for almost 46 years named after him.
So when Penn State University officials tried to make that concession as part of the final contract payout to the late coach's estate, his family said no, according to the Patriot News in Mechanicsburg.
The only place on campus Paterno cared to bear his name has already been honoring his contribution for more than 10 years. It's the library where Paterno and his wife donated millions.
A source close to the Paterno family told the newspaper that renaming the field would still be "a tremendous and humbling honor," but it "has always been a fan-driven matter. It was never important to Joe."
So in January, when Penn State tried to use the issue as leverage to get the family to sign a full release in exchange for paying the full contract, the family didn't budge, the source said.
Tensions, already smoldering under the surface between the first family of Penn State and university leadership, have exploded just short of all-out war since January.
Alumni reaction to the board of trustees was harsh when Paterno was fired days after former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged with molesting 10 boys and two Penn State officials were charged with lying about what they knew to a grand jury.
Penn State went on the defensive, publicly giving a series of explanations for why it chose not to allow the 85-year-old to retire as he had planned in January.
Days later, he was diagnosed with cancer and died from complications Jan. 22, igniting fan displeasure that he was not honored while alive.