Fundraising Plan for Reser Stadium Expansion Announced

Oct. 3, 2002

Corvallis, Ore. - Beaver Nation is about to grow bigger and louder.

Oregon State University has announced an ambitious fundraising plan to expand Reser Stadium by approximately 8,000 seats for the kick-off of the 2005 football season. It will bring the stadium's capacity to 43,000 seats.

The $80 million expansion is the most expensive undertaking in the university's history. The project - 'Raising Reser: Expanding Beaver Nation' - will be funded by a combination of private money and state bonds.

'This is about more than expanding Reser Stadium,' said OSU Athletic Director Bob De Carolis. 'This is about growing our base of support, not only for athletics, but for the entire university.'

OSU President Paul Risser agreed. The president and his leadership team approved the fundraising project the last week of September.

'This will be a source of pride for the Oregon State University community around the world,' Risser said. 'We hope the stadium will act as a gateway to introduce people to everything we have to offer at Oregon State University. They may come to attend a football game, but we want them to leave with a better understanding of the entire university.'

Recent success on the football field has contributed to an increase in gifts and pledges to the OSU Foundation. Following OSU's appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, the OSU Foundation received a record $53.8 million in cash gifts and pledges. The previous record was $41.3 million set the year before, which followed the football team's first bowl appearance since 1965.

According to Orcilia Zuniga-Forbes, vice president for University Advancement, money raised following the Fiesta Bowl wasn't directed just at athletics. She said the winning stimulated additional gifts to the university's academic pursuits and expanded the university's base of financial support. According to financial records at the OSU Foundation, in the six months following the Fiesta Bowl, the university raised twice as much money for academics as it did for athletics.

'Successful athletics is just part of the equation,' said Risser. 'Expanding our engineering school, working with the people of Central Oregon to start Oregon State University - Cascades Campus, boosting enrollment - they all play a role in generating excitement about Oregon State University. This project will continue that momentum.'

De Carolis said the university will need $28 million in up-front private donations before the project can begin. Of this, $20 million will be used as a down payment on the project, $4 million will be used to retire the athletic department's existing debt, and $4 million will be used for first year debt service. State bonds will be used to fund the remaining $60 million

De Carolis said the fundraising plan is divided into three major components. They include:

*A targeted fundraising effort that will include naming opportunities throughout the stadium, including rooms, levels, plazas, etc.

*A BASF ticket campaign that will sell the new seat locations up-front for the 2005 season. Boosters will be asked to make donations for the new seats concurrently with their 2003 and 2004 annual BASF donations. For customer convenience, the 2005 contributions can be paid from Jan. '03 to June '04 through a monthly payment plan which will be available through the OSU Foundation.

*A stadium investment fee on all tickets sold. This one-time contribution will average $100 per seat (depending on your current ticket status) for season ticket holders and $300 per seat for fans who want tickets on the newly constructed east side. Again, fans will have the option of spreading these payments over 18 months if necessary. All individual ticket purchases over the next three seasons will require a $5 per ticket charge and students will also be asked to pay a fee which will have to be approved through the student fee process.

'This is going to be a grassroots effort,' De Carolis said. 'Everyone is going to help fund this project, not just our most generous donors.'

The east side expansion will include 4,000 field-level bleacher seats from goal line to goal line that will be dedicated to students. An additional 2,000 bleacher seats will be reserved for students in the south endzone.

All other seats on the east side will be chair back seating. They include 200, high-end, amenity seats in the 'Founders Loge' area and a covered second deck with 3,600 club seats. There will be 30,000-square-feet of reception space under the club seats complete with upscale amenities including food, adult beverages, etc. East side seating will include private entrances with elevators and escalators covered by a canopy system.

There will also be 20 new luxury suites.

Despite still being the second smallest stadium in the Pac-10, the design could make the field one of the toughest to play in the conference. The construction plan includes two future phases that would renovate the existing west side and add a second deck to the south endzone bringing the total capacity to 55,000 seats.

'The raising of Reser Stadium is not only about the necessity for raising its capacity, but raising the quality of the experience in the stadium,' De Carolis said. 'We don't have to be the biggest, we have to be the best.'

De Carolis said the new eastern structure will provide views, even from its upper bowl seating, that are significantly closer to the action than the gentle slope of the current west bleachers.

'The term 'raising' accurately paints a picture of this structure and describes the entire project,' De Carolis said. 'We're raising our expectations competitively, we're raising more money and we're raising the number of fans who follow Beaver athletics. This will help us take the entire athletic program to the next level.'

De Carolis said OSU football coach Dennis Erickson had asked that the new stadium be constructed to raise the decibel level while keeping the university's students behind the team to increase the home field advantage.

'The design of this project is what we were looking for to enhance our home field advantage,' said Dennis Erickson, OSU football coach. 'We keep the students behind our bench and put the crowd right on top of the action. It should be loud.'In addition, Erickson said the new facility will help recruiting.

'This is really the last piece of the 'Triple Crown' as far as our recruiting efforts go,' Erickson said. 'We have the Valley Football Center, the Truax Indoor Practice Facility and soon we'll have an expanded Reser Stadium. These facilities are crucial to helping us remain competitive in the Pac-10 Conference.'

De Carolis said the university will conduct regional meetings beginning in November to formally present the project to fans. Customer relation experts will be available at those meetings to answer questions and concerns regarding tickets.

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