Board approves further $630 million for Beaver Stadium renovation

The long-awaited renovation of Beaver Stadium took a significant step forward Tuesday afternoon.

Penn State's Board of Trustees voted overwhelmingly to release up to $630 million for a project designed to modernize and supplement the stadium, which has been home to the Nittany Lions football team since 1960. The resolution passed the board by a 26-2 vote, with three abstentions, and it pushes along a project that began in January, when the board initially voted to provide $70 million toward the renovation.

Board members Anthony Lubrano and Barry Fenchak voted against the measure, with fellow members Ted Brown, Alan de Levie and Jay Paterno — a former Nittany Lions assistant coach and son of legendary head coach Joe Paterno — abstaining.

The project will be financed and paid for by Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics, through fundraising, concessions, naming opportunities, sponsorships and ticket sales, including new premium seating options that will be added during the renovation, the department announced in a press release announcing the approval.

"Many recognize Beaver Stadium as the best stadium in college football, and we want to preserve the atmosphere that our fans, alumni and community have come to expect while building on this history of excellence for generations to come," Penn State president Dr. Neeli Bendapudi said. "The renovations will have a wide variety of positive impacts on our community, help us remain a national leader by attracting top student-athletes, and continue serving as a symbol for belonging and pride for students across the Commonwealth."

Renovations are expected to continue in earnest after the 2024 season, but they began on a smaller scale during the current offseason with the construction of several new escalators, the widening of some concourses to enhance safety, lighting improvements and winterizing the facility, which will allow it to host a potential College Football Playoff game when the tournament expands this December.

But board members who approved the project hope the project will be a catalyst not just for an updated football stadium, but of a year-round facility that will drive economic growth for the athletic department and the region.

"With home football games averaging $16.2 million in tourism and economic growth in our region, the potential return on investing in a premiere football stadium is significant," Penn State athletics director Patrick Kraft said in a statement. "Beyond the increased ability to host major events year-round as we winterize the stadium and build inventory, the experience for our fans will be greatly enhanced while providing the facilities our football program needs to continue competing at the highest level."

The project is expected to be completed by the 2027 season, with construction proceeding during each of the next three offseasons. Officials said the project likely would result in a "small reduction" in seating for the 2025 season.

Ultimately, it will focus mostly on a restructure of the stadium's west side, and will include new seating boxes on the loge level, increased press box space and a broadcast level. It will also include a 21,000-square-foot welcome center, complete with event space that can be used year-round.