Stanford plan would reduce seating, up amenities

Updated: June 7, 2005, 11:05 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press