Reser Stadium

Reser Stadium

Anonymous donor gives big for Reser

Reser Stadium’s $153 million west side renovation project has picked up considerable steam following events of the past week.

On Thursday, Oregon State University announced a $50 million gift by an anonymous donor that is earmarked for the Reser Stadium project. It is the single largest donation in university history.

Last week, the OSU Board of Trustees’ Finance and Administration committee gave Stage Gate 1 approval of the project. It allows the project to advance to the design phase. The Board of Trustees will consider the Reser Stadium project for final approval during their May meeting.

OSU president F. King Alexander, athletic director Scott Barnes and football coach Jonathan Smith were scheduled to speak at a press conference regarding the donation on Thursday.Plans call for project construction to begin following the end of the 2021 football season, with virtual completion prior to the start of the 2023 season. Contingencies are in place allowing OSU to play its 2022 home football games at Reser Stadium.

The financial breakout to pay for the $153 million project is $85 million in donor gifts and $68 million in bonds. Including the $50 million anonymous donation, the school has raised $64.5 million toward the $85 million. Among that $64.5 million is a $10.5 million gift from another anonymous donor.

The intent of the stadium’s west side project is a year-round facility. Among its uses beyond football is a 35,000-square-foot student medical facility, a welcome center for new students and meeting space for university students, faculty and staff. There is the possibility of a private partner that would provide medical services for the student health center.

The renovated west side includes premium and general seating that OSU athletic director Scott Barnes says will provide the closest proximity to the playing field of any college football stadium in the country.

The $68 million in bonds will be repaid over 30 years through revenue from football and supporting ventures in the renovated west side. The annual debt service is projected to be $4.4 million, with $2.6 million paid by increased athletics revenue. The remaining $1.8 million comes from student health services, medical partners, education and general funds and university-side conference revenue.

By renovating Reser’s west side, Oregon State estimates it will eliminate $70 million in deferred maintenance.

Reser Stadium was originally built for $330,000 in 1953 with a seating capacity of 28,000. The current seating capacity is 45,674, which has slowly increased over the years with various building projects. Reser Stadium’s east side was completely renovated in 2005.

— The Oregonian

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