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Stanford plan would reduce seating, up amenities

STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanford University unveiled plans
Tuesday for an $85 million project to renovate its 84-year-old
football stadium.

The university's Board of Trustees approved the plan that would
downsize the capacity of the stadium to 50,026 from its current
85,000, and increase concession areas and other amenities.

If the construction proposal is approved by the board in
October, construction would begin following the final football game
of the 2005 season.

Estimates for the project's completion range between nine months
and 21 months. The final construction schedule should be complete
by February.

"This probably tells people this is a new era, with a new
outlook for Stanford football," Cardinal football coach Walt
Harris said. "It should create an atmosphere of spirit and
enthusiasm. We'll accept this stadium graciously."

The current stadium will be leveled and a new structure built in
its place but with the same landscaping. The south end of the
stadium, open since it was built in 1921, will be enclosed.

"The key objectives were public safety issues, (disability)
issues, creating a dynamic football experience, to reinforce
Stanford's commitment to a winning football program and to
establish a revenue stream," associate athletic director Debra
Gore-Mann said.

Former Stanford football players Jim Plunkett and Darrin Nelson
and former coach Bill Walsh were among those in attendance at the
formal announcement.

"Everything inside the stadium will be new," athletic director
Ted Leland said. "We'll destroy all the seats and the press box
before we build the new seats. We are also switching to artificial
turf for environmental reasons and because we will have water table
problems."

Stanford has raised $60 million for the project and hopes to
raise an additional $25 million before construction can begin.