Oregon St. Athletic Director Bob De Carolis today announced in his latest Orange Perspective report that the long awaited feasibility study for modernizing the aging west side of Reser Stadium, commonly known as the "old side", is beginning, and will take a year to complete.
"The overriding purpose of the study will be to help us determine the viability of upgrading the west side of the stadium, or the "old" side as it has become known, since we modernized and upgraded the east side of the stadium," De Carolis said.
Hopefully, that won't exactly be the purpose, as it leaves open the possibility of not doing so. Ideally, the study should produce a report outlining several options, with the associated cost estimates and time lines, allowing the university to choose the option that's most achievable, because doing nothing really isn't a reasonable option.
De Carolis does acknowledge various obvious benefits to bringing the centerpiece of the Athletic Department, not to mention the single biggest asset of the University, into the modern era, and goes on to discuss the financial considerations that go along with making the old side resemble the new one, and taking a detailed look at options and costs is certainly appropriate, not to mention overdue.
The possibility of combining the west side rebuild with yet another upgrade to the Valley Football Center or doing the projects separately is also discussed, and will be explored.
And given that stadium building is a time consuming project, as well as a money consuming one, its certainly high time to start the process. Oregon St. certainly doesn't want to wait until the old side literally starts falling down, as happened to Husky Stadium before the University of Washington undertook their currently underway rebuild.
Its already been 7 years since the new, north side of Reser opened, after an $80 million effort that took 3 years from announcement to fans in the seats. Unfortunately, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s arrived during that time, leaving donors and customers in a poorer position to support another upgrade, which will have a much higher price tag associated with it.
But Beaver Nation, like the University, has an investment that can't be allowed to stagnate. Infrastructure deteriorates with age at best, and it also becomes obsolete, which the old side is an extreme example of. Installing seats won't fix the sight lines that come with a stadium that isn't contoured to the field, for example. There's no way to "fix" what needs to be built differently.
The problem is also complicated by the fact that Oregon St. also has the oldest, most obsolete basketball arena in the conference, and that's going to have to be addressed at some point soon too. Even though it will take time to pay off the bill, an increased revenue stream from an expanded and modernized Reser that remains competitive would be helpful campus wide.
It might be a good time to start squirreling away some extra scratch, as the wheels have begun to turn on the next big project.