The Norman Transcript

OU Football

May 7, 2014

Renovations to OU athletic facilities on the horizon

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents announced the agenda for Thursday’s meeting in Norman. As of late Tuesday afternoon, no renovations to Owen Field are currently on the agenda.

That doesn’t mean the Sooners’ stadium will not undergo big changes in the coming season. OU commissioned a feasibility study for more renovations for the stadium six months ago.

A source told the Transcript the top priorities are: a new pressbox, additional luxury suites to the west side of the stadium and improving fan amenities. Also, improving football team facilities in the south end of the stadium are expected to be part of any stadium project.

But everything is still in the planning stages.

After the study was announced in October, OU coach Bob Stoops said changes to the stadium would aid his program.

“It’ll help recruiting,” he said. “I think it will be fantastic for our fans if we continue to do things to improve the stadium.”

Stoops declined to comment when asked by the Transcript about stadium upgrades on Monday.

Owen Field hasn’t experienced a major seating upgrade since the east side renovation increased the seating capacity to 82,112 prior to the 2003 season. It was the third major renovation in 23 years to the facility, which opened in 1923.

On Sunday night, KWTV reported a $350-400 million upgrade plan that called for expanded seating could announced as early as Thursday’s board of regents meeting. According to the report, renovations were to be completed by the start of the 2015 season.

Multiple sources disputed that report. Mainly, because OU has not bid out the project, so no estimates on the price tag are possible.

Just as a gauge, Baylor will open 50,000-seat McLane Stadium in August. It built was from scratch for $250 million.

There are athletic facility improvement funding items on the regents’ agenda. Two of the biggest are $4 million upgrades to baseball’s L. Dale Mitchell Park and softball’s Marita Hynes Field.

Also, $10 million in improvements to the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, including a new clubhouse, are on the agenda.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

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