University Park, Pa. — The Nittany Lions have not played in Beaver Stadium since April, but there has been much activity in and around the facility over the past four months in preparation for Saturday’s opener and the 2010 campaign.
Penn State opens its 124th season with a noon kickoff against Youngstown State and work has been culminating the past two weeks on numerous improvements that will enhance the gameday experience and safety in the nation’s second-largest facility. Beaver Stadium, with a capacity of 107,282, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as home of the Nittany Lions.
"Many people have been very busy in the off-season accomplishing a long list of improvements to the stadium," said Mark Bodenschatz, Associate Athletic Director, Facilities and Operations. "Many thanks go to the Office of Physical Plant, numerous consultants and contractors. We have appreciated and applied feedback from our loyal Nittany Lion Club members and staff from Intercollegiate Athletics and other partner organizations at Penn State."
The most recognizable changes at the stadium have occurred at Gate A, where the more than 21,000 Penn State students, and other fans, enter the facility. Twenty-four student ticket booths have been installed, as well as a Resolution booth for any students with a ticketing issue. Two doors have been constructed at the bottom of the stairwell adjacent to Gate A.
"The new doors provide two more entry points for students and will help the flow into the stadium for our ADA patrons who also use Gate A," Bodenschatz commented.
Among the other enhancements at Gate A are the addition of 12 benches, new overhead lights and grass, creating a look similar to the outside of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, which is across Porter Road from Gate A. The changes at Gate A have resulted in a slightly larger footprint for Paternoville.
Among the other improvements in and around Beaver Stadium:
– The on-going painting project in the seating area included a large section of the west stands, at a cost of approximately $1.3 million;
– All of the stadium seats were pressure-washed and windows were washed;
– New stairs were built on the East and West ends of the North upper deck to help flow to and from the deck;
– Drains were installed in some of spots in the seating areas and at the 60th row cross aisle susceptible to puddling;
– New bird netting was installed in selected areas;
– New flat screen TVs were installed in the suites on levels 1 and 2 of the East side "Roar Suites."
– The visiting team locker room includes a new training room, with painting and new carpet in the locker room.
The No. 19/14 Nittany Lions will face seven bowl teams from 2009 this fall. The Youngstown State contest will kick at noon and air on the Big Ten Network, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com. Tickets are available at www.GoPSUsports.com, by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m. or at the Beaver Stadium ticket office on gameday.
Penn State Football Eve presented by HappyValley.com will launch the season on Friday, with activities starting at 6 p.m. outside Beaver Stadium. The program inside the stadium starts at 7:45 p.m. featuring the Blue Band, cheerleaders, dance team and videos. Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lion team will be in attendance with the Hall of Fame coach addressing the crowd followed by highlight videos and fireworks. The event and parking are free.