ARDMORE — The capacity won’t change much, but Owen Field will experience a major remodeling by the 2016 season opener.
A major renovation plan, OU’s most substantial makeover since building the east side upper deck and luxury suites prior to the 2003 season, was approved by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents on Wednesday. The project comes with a $370 million price tag to be paid with athletic department revenue, bonds and donations.
“At the time we launched this comprehensive study of our stadium and student-athlete facilities, we really did take sort of a two-part, or a twin goal: One, to create a world-class student-athlete experience as well as an unforgettable experience for the fans who support our program,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “I absolutely believe that we met, if not exceeded those two goals in this particular phase.”
For fans, the biggest cosmetic changes will be in the south end zone and west side.
-zone structure will bowl in the stadium for the first time. Owen Field, which opened in 1923, was built with original east and west sides. It was turned into a horseshoe by bowling in the north end zone in 1949. The south end zone structure has been unconnected to the rest of the stadium since it was erected in 1980.
The west-side renovation calls for two upper decks along with club seating, luxury suites and a new press box. It will begin with the south end zone because those also call for massive improvements to the Switzer Center, which is connected.
“The major improvements that affect student athletes are right there,” OU president David Boren said. “There are weight training, physical training, flexibility training, nutrition, meeting rooms and other things, plus also bringing our athletic administration offices down to the south end zone will be close to the football operations and our student athletes.”