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Results are In: Penn State Trustees Vote on Beaver Stadium Renovation Project

Penn State announced their second-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history with 110,830.

As expected, the Penn State Board of Trustees approved Beaver Stadium’s $700 million renovation project.

The resolution passed with a 26-2 vote, with three— including Jay Paterno— abstaining.

This project, which has been in the works for more than a year and would bring significant changes to Penn State’s football home of more than half a century, was met with opposition by some board members. 

Four days before the proposal passed, a trustee named Barry Fenchak— who was one of the two that voted “no” along with Anthony Lubrano published an article on his website called “Why We Can’t Afford the Beaver Stadium Renovation Proposed by Penn State Board of Trustee Leadership.”

Fenchak argued that because PSU’s athletic department would increase its debt to $877 million, the school didn’t have the “revenue nor the donations to fund the project. Therefore, the board “should not approve the project.”

Despite this, it would have been hard to imagine the project not getting approved. The expected outcome took place at the board’s meeting late Tuesday morning.

Among the three abstaining was Jay Paterno, who said during the meeting that he did so because of his faith involvement in a a “public-private partnership” proposal, which  could have added $150-$200M to the plan. Penn State didn’t peruse that, which Lubrano also expressed disappointment in.

In February 2023, Penn State first announced its plans to renovate, with President Neeli Bendapudi saying that this would be a financially superior option to building a new stadium, which AD Pat Kraft said would have cost no less than $1.5 billion.

But Penn State BOT Senior Vice President Sara F. Thorndike laid out a PowerPoint slide during the meeting that said of Penn State’s three options for Beaver Stadium– Repair, Renovate, Replace, renovation was the only financially responsible option.

Per a PowerPoint presentation headlined by Bendapudi and Kraft, repairing would have cost $140 million and led to a $655 million deficit. Replacing would have cost $2 billion and led to a $1.3 billion deficit. On the contrary, renovating would have cost $700 million but led to a $44M profit. 

Perks to renovating include, per the presentation 

  • Enhanced ticket revenues
  • New naming rights (individual and corporate) 
  • New premium seating (suites, boxes)
  • New concessions contract
  • Additional philanthropy and naming 
  • Additional special events revenues 
  • Better circulation 
  • Invited Club 
  • TV/multimedia rights/ contracts
  • Big Ten conference revenues
  • Disciplined fiscal management/budgeting (more), conservative than consultant proposal from 2022)

The full project is expected to be completed by 2027. Thorndike also told trustees that the renovation is planned to be $664 million and won’t go over $700 million. 

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