Ohio Stadium is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation project that is set to see the additions of about 2,600 seats, permanent lights and new FieldTurf.
According to an April 23 university press release, the stadium renovation was projected to cost $13.7 million, including the continuation of concrete waterproofing repairs that began last year. Minus the concrete work, associate athletic director for facilities operations Don Patko said the renovation will cost $8.9 million.
“We’re adding (2,600) seats to the south stands,” Patko said. “We’re also adding permanent lighting, which is going to be HD quality. It’s going to be high-level sports performance lighting from (Musco Lighting).”
According to a Feb. 9 The Lantern article, the project is set to result in 18,900 total student seats in the south stands.
Musco is the same company that provided temporary lighting for past OSU night games, Patko said. He added that the permanent lighting is an indication that OSU will play more night games in the future.
While Patko said FieldTurf typically lasts for eight to 10 years, the university decided to replace the stadium turf now for economic reasons. He said the school was already working on a new turf field in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and one new outdoor practice field.
“We were looking to replace this maybe next year or the year after, and because we put all three together, we saved a couple hundred thousand (dollars),” Patko said.
OSU has been using FieldTurf since the 2007 season.
On top of saving money on the turf, Patko said the project is saving money by recycling materials from the old field. Instead of a complete redo, the university is utilizing the sand and rubber from the previous field.
“We’re just putting a brand new carpet down and in filling it with the sand and rubber from the old field,” he said. “So, we actually have a recycling element to that and we’re excited about that because it saves us a few dollars in the process.”
Patko said the field will have all of the same markings. The main visible difference will be the brightness of the colors on the field.
The additional seats are coming to the south stands, but the seats on the east side of the stadium are receiving a makeover as well. That project is part of the concrete waterproofing project, which began in 2013 on the west stands. The process is done to help preserve the concrete that has been present since 1922.
According to the same Feb. 9 The Lantern article, the concrete waterproofing came in $500,000 above it’s original budget. The process was supposed to cost $4.3 million, but is projected to come out to $4.8 million. The original budget was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2012.
“During phase one, after removing the existing waterproofing membrane, it was learned that additional work would be required to level the surface of the concrete to ensure the performance and guarantee of the new membrane,” OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg said in an email to The Lantern.
Beyond a new field on which to play, the OSU football team is set to have a new tunnel to run out of. The tunnel is set to be larger than in previous years and is set to have a rubber surface to prevent slipping. Patko said the larger tunnel could have benefits for the team’s energy before games.
“It’ll bring some new excitement, it’ll allow the team to come out in a larger mass,” he said.
The stadium renovations are part of a $45 million project to improve OSU’s overall athletic facilities, according to the April 23 release.
The project is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 14, but Patko said the school is prepared to adjust if need be.
“Obviously, if there’s any delays, we’ll give (the renovation crew) as much time as we can before the first game,” he said.
OSU is scheduled to kick off its 2014 football season Aug. 30 against Navy in Baltimore, Md. The first game at Ohio Stadium is set for Sept. 6 against Virginia Tech. That game, as well as a Nov. 1 game against Illinois, are scheduled to be 8 p.m. starts under the new permanent lights.