The west side of Reser Stadium came crashing down on Friday morning on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis. The planned demolition, part of the “Completing Reser” project, could be heard in Philomath and beyond.
Scott Barnes, OSU vice president and director of athletics, said during a video-recorded interview with Mike Parker that an implosion was the safest and most economical way to go with bringing down the structure.
“Really a seminal moment, I think, for Beaver Nation and all of the folks that have been involved and have talked about renovating the west side for years,” Barnes told Parker. “This really sort of marks the moment where we move forward and get this project done.”
Originally named Parker Field, the stadium dates back to 1953 with several renovations following through the decades. It was renamed in 1999 to honor Al and Pat Reser, OSU graduates and major donors to athletics.
The $153 million project includes construction of the new west side of the stadium, a welcome center for prospective new students and their families, and a wellness clinic for students, OSU employees and community members.
“It really does mark a huge set of forward-moving parts,” Barnes said. “It is absolute progress when you say this project is ready to go, let’s knock it down. The funding is in place, the plans are in place, we’ve been working strategically for some four years to get to this moment in time where we can actually press go.”
The project is expected to be completed before the start of the 2023 football season. It is being funded by more than $90 million in philanthropy — including $50 million from an anonymous donor — raised by the OSU Foundation and by revenues from football stadium activities. Various revenue sources will fund the wellness center, and new revenues from enrollment growth will fund the student welcome center.
“I think about all the years and the folks that came before,” Barnes said. “I think about those who sit on the west side and have so many legacy memories with family and just asking them to hang in there for a year. … What they’ll have when they come back will be unbelievable and so just want those folks to know we’re thinking about them.”
Steve Clark, OSU vice president for university relations and marketing, said prior to the event that the decision to implode the westside stadium was all about safety.
“Instead of using a traditional demolition process to take apart such a large structure and tall roof canopy in pieces, implosion of the stadium by a licensed contractor will contribute to OSU community, worker and public safety during demolition,” Clark said in a news release.
To ensure safety during the implosion, residential, commercial and campus structures within 500 feet of the stadium’s west side were unoccupied during the event. In addition, Clark had said occupants of buildings within 1,000 feet of the stadium were to be asked to remain indoors and away from exterior windows and patios. Streets in the area also were closed to all traffic — vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles for roughly 10 minutes before and after the implosion activities.