The sea of scarlet and gray in the south end zone at Ohio Stadium is about to grow a little bigger for the coming season at the price of nearly $9 million.
Seating is being added to the south stands to move about 2,500 students out of the north end zone C-Deck, Dan Wallenberg, associate athletics director of communications, said in an email.
The project is set to start this week with an August completion date, Wallenberg said, and construction company Barton Malow is working on the project.
Permanent lighting installations on top of the stadium walls are also set to be added to Ohio Stadium during this time. The entire project is slated to cost the Department of Athletics $8.9 million, Wallenberg said.
The project’s completion is set to result in 18,900 total student seats in the south stands and 9,400 at the north end, he said.
North stand student seating is split into two parts: 5,500 seats in the lower-level A-Deck and 6,400 in the upper-level C-Deck. The 2,500 seats that will no longer be for students specifically will come from the upper deck only, Wallenberg said.
Current seating capacity in Ohio Stadium is 102,329, according to the athletics facilities website. Attendance is typically about 105,000 for games, though, which Wallenberg said is because OSU Marching Band members, ushers and media are counted in the total as well.
Availability and pricing of student ticket packages will not be affected by the expansion, Wallenberg said.
Some students said the expansion will create a more intimidating atmosphere in Ohio Stadium.
“Game-wise, it will definitely be louder in the south stands now,” said Lauren Franke, a fourth-year in nutrition who purchased student tickets in the south stands this year. “As far as student spirit, it will be harder to get everything (various cheers) going, because there’s not as much interaction with the opposite side of the stadium. It’s a good thing and a bad thing.”
Others said the expansion and shift of student seating is a positive change for student unity.
“Everyone wants to get (tickets) in the south stands,” said Sabitha Singh, a first-year in neuroscience, “so more (students) will go to the games if they can get a seat in the south stands.”
The south stands are considered an “exclusively student” cheering block, Wallenberg said.
A representative from Block “O” did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Construction on the stadium during Spring Semester moved the 2013 OSU football Spring Game to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. That construction project cost $4.3 million and was a routine maintenance project that occurs every 10 to 15 years, involving recoating the concrete in order to waterproof it and repairing the wear and tear on the concrete and construction joints.
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