How Is the Renovation Work on OU Memorial Stadium Progressing – or Not?


For over a year now we have seen design renderings of what Gaylord Family-OU Memorial Stadium will look like after a major renovation project is completed.

The original design proposal called for an estimated $370 million master plan that would include connecting the bowl at the south end of the stadium and expansion of the south-end fan plaza along with a covered upper concourse, a major expansion of the press box on the west side of the stadium, and redevelopment of the Barry Switzer Center.

Work was anticipated to begin immediately after the final home game of the 2014 season and be ready for the opening of the 2015 season.

Sep 13, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops runs onto the field before the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

But work did not begin at the end of last year, as expected, and plans changed early this year.

The original plan reportedly was scaled back in large part because of falling oil prices. The OU Board of Regents did, however, approve an initial phase of the renovation, which is now expected to cost around $160 million.

The board approved initial funding of $3 million last September, an on Wednesday an additional $105 million was approved for the continuation of the project.

Work began in the spring and is expected to continue through the 2015 season. The first phase of the project involves the “bowling in” of the south end of the stadium, as university officials described it.

The first phase of what OU President David Boren says will be a three-phase plan will also include additional suites and boxes, other fan amenities and improvements to the training facilities at the south end of the complex.

Boren said he and the board started realizing there was a problem regarding the original scope of the project when “half the net worth of our major donors was wiped out (in one week) by the falling oil prices.

“You know you are sitting there and someone is worth so many million dollars and three days later they are worth half that – that’s exactly what happened to a lot of our major donors and supporters,” The OU president told Oklahoma City Oklahoman staff writer Ryan Aber in March.

In an article published on the Oklahoman website on Wednesday evening, Boren said “the fundraising for the project is more than on schedule.”