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Page 30 text:
' :il it
The Stadium goes BIG
by Lynne Persing
Ordinarily, expanding a university football stadium might
appear a relatively uncomplicated matter. Many other
schools across the country have undertaken similar
projects as football audiences continue to break attendance
records and the expansion of Oklahoma Memorial
Stadium is not the most expensive project OU has seen.
So the project would seem an uncomplicated and
uncontroversial matter. Except for the fact that it involves
OU football, and more specifically, OU football seats.
The passion and sometimes hysteria of OU football fans
has become as normal an aspect of OU football as the Big
Eight Championship. Most Oklahomans have their own
anecdotes about those all-night football ticket lines or their
progression from 20 yard-line seats to 24 yard-line seats in
only 28 years. And there are those divorce proceedings
which battled for months, not over the kids or the house,
but the 50-yard-line tickets.
With this type of football enthusiasm, the idea of adding
9,000 seats and some added conveniences to the Sooners'
stadium at first seemed an expected result of the un-
stoppable force which drives both the team and the fans.
However, when the plan was announced in October of
1973, the initial cheers were followed by some disturbed
grumblings. Out of this grumbling emerged the fact that
many OU fans would lose their long prized-football seats.
Naturally some fans were not too happy with this idea.
University receptionists in various offices were kept busy
ENDLESS SOONER CROWDS which pack Oklahoma Memorial
Stadium for every Big Red gridiron battle were the impetus for plans for a
trying to explain the situation to confused and sometimes
According to OU officials, the expansion plan involved
two phases. Phase One of the Stadium Expansion
Program QSTEPD included construction of an upper deck
which would hold 9,000 seats, and the refurbishing of the
seating area under the deck. The 1,300 seats in this
"prestige" area under the deck would be equipped with
chair like seats.
Contributors were offered seating priorities for ten years
and would be rotated within the section each year in order
to share the most favorable seating.
According to STEP, those people who must be relocated
out of the area under the deck would be given the best
possible seats in the non-priority section of the upper deck.
Phase One also included the construction of a new press
box, and improved and expanded student and faculty
seating areas. Possible additions to the project included a
"V.l.P." lounge, fiberglass seat covers and a special camera
level in the press box.
Phase Two of STEP would be the development of an
annual donors program. Those who donate 3250, 35150 or
55100 to the Athletic Department would have ranking
priority for a season ticket. This priority is in a choice area
of the stadium, not a particular seat.
Money derived from the donation program is to be
earmarked for athletic scholarships as part of an effort to
keep the Athletic Department self sufficient.
stadium expansion. The excitement of Stave Davis f5J, Grant Burget 1253,
and Joe Washington C245 keeps the fans coming.
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Page 29 text:
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Page 31 text:
ABOVE: FOOTBALL TICKET LINES begin the night before sales open,
with many camping out in hopes of "The 50-yarderf'
But not without
In addition to the protest made by some longtime ticket
holders about the plan, both students and Oklahoma
legislators voiced their disapproval.
Some students derided the plan as proof that football is a
"rich man's sport."
In April of this year, the state legislature went on record
as being opposed to the plan, although the legislators later
agreed to support it.
University administrators and Athletic Department
officials defended the plan as the best way to improve the
stadium and bring additional revenue into the Athletic
Although loudly voiced protest of the plan became quiet
over the summer, proponents of the plan had not seen the
last of their troubles. Delays in gaining approval for a
revenue bond proposal which would help start the project
caused the construction bid opening to be moved from
July to September.
When the bids finally were opened, the low bid was over
S900,000 over the base cost of 554.2 million which had
been estimated by the University.
This forced administrators to rehuddle to figure a way to
continue with the project. By this time, almost S6 million
had been collected through the donors program.
By re-examining the plan, cost deductions were made by
eliminating some parts of the project and reducing the
quality of some aesthetic considerations in the plan.
With this obstacle behind them supporters of STEP could
only hope that no more problems would arise before the
project's expected completion in early September 1975.0
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ABOVE: A QUARTER CENTURY landmark comes crashing down as
the press box of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, long a familiar sight, is
pulled to the ground for an expansion of the stadium.
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