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October 24, 2013

OU Regents weigh stadium renovation

Officials want to make Memorial stadium more fan friendly

LAWTON — In an effort to keep ahead of the competition in the region and around the country, University of Oklahoma Regents on Wednesday discussed the master plan update of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

According to OU President David Boren, the study takes a more holistic approach, instead of doing it piece by piece.

“It’s a master plan study of the stadium, so we can look at the whole stadium and try to set up a series of priorities,” Boren said. “We don’t want to just look at little tiny pieces of the stadium by itself. We want to look at the whole stadium. It’s been over 20 years since there has been a master-plan look at the whole stadium.”

The original master plan was developed in 1993. Early projects included the development of the academic center, the Barry Switzer Center, westside suites and turf replacement.

With many athletic programs in the Big 12 and other major conferences already building or renovating their football stadiums, OU athletics director Joe Castiglione said Oklahoma not only wants to make sure they keep Memorial Stadium up to date but also at the forefront.

“It’s comprehensive and proactive,” Castiglione said. “We always want to be considered the type of institution that sets the standard. These facilities that we build or improve are all privately funded.

“So we need to prove to those who are going to support us in this endeavor that these projects are not just be noteworthy but vital to our continued success.”

Schools that have recently built or renovated their stadiums include Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas. Former Big 12 partner Texas A&M has already announced a $450 million project. But Castiglione reminds fans that Oklahoma started it all with its renovations in 2000.

The updated master plan will not just focus on infrastructure but also fan amenities, such as being able to use social media and portable mobile devices in the stadium.

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