Sooner Football: Stadium Construction Update


In the shadow of Sooner football home games this season is renovation work going on at the south end of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

It is part of a $160 million stadium construction project, the first phase of which involves fully enclosing the south-end seating bowl, which will increase the stadium seating capacity to more than 84,000. Phase I also includes adding a pair of open-air fan plazas in the southwest and southeast sections of the end-zone area and expanding the concourse at the south end of the stadium.

You may have read or heard that stadium renovation work had stopped or slowed down. Those reports are partially true, but perhaps all the facts have not been made clear to interested parties and the general public.

According to a report published in the Oklahoma City Oklahoman newspaper, a Cleveland County district judge upheld a temporary injunction to stop elements of the construction taking place at the OU football stadium.

The article in Tuesday’s editions of The Oklahoman went on to say that the dispute is over the contract to provide steel and concrete panels.

HME, Inc., a Kansas corporation, filed a lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma, contending that the university is in violation of state law by awarding the steel contract for the stadium construction project to an Oklahoma-based company, W&W Steel. HME is reported to have submitted the lowest bid for the contract, but OU administration officials say that they wanted a contractor with more extensive experience in stadium projects.

According to The Oklahoman, OU athletic director Joe Castiglione told the media last month that the construction work in the south end-zone area of the stadium would be completed in time for the opening of the 2016 college football season.

OU officials say that construction work has not reached the stage yet that involves the steel and concrete panels, and that the other renovation work that is underway will continue for now.

The University of Oklahoma has argued, according to The Oklahoman article, that stopping the stadium construction poses a major hardship on the university because it has promised fans and donors that the construction in the south end zone will be completed by the 2016 home opener and that tickets have been sold for seats that do not exist yet.

OU is expected to appeal the district judge’s decision to uphold the temporary injunction.