It’s hard to say goodbye, but it’s a little easier to do it when you know good things are ahead.
This past week, demolition crews at Oregon State University imploded the west side of Reser Stadium, Corvallis’ iconic home of the Beavers football team.
The demolition is an early step in the college’s $153 million renovations of the stadium. The implosion marked the first major step in dismantling the stadium, which debuted in 1953.
Cheers rose up after bleachers, press box fell
The west wing of Reser Stadium was a relic of the past. Its brusque angles, black-tinted press-box windows, and white bleachers held in their fibers decades of heartbreak, gridiron hallelujahs, and countless memories shared between hundreds of thousands of ticketholders.
The stadium saw its first game on November 14, when the Beavers downed the Washington State Cougars 7-0. That day, halfback Chuck Brackett barreled across the goal line on a one-yard run for the first touchdown at Reser.
The stadium’s first passing touchdown came nearly a year later when quarterback Douglas Bradley threw a TD to John Hermann.
Video from the implosion reveals a bluish-grey overcast sky slathered over the horizon. Reser’s west wing was motionless. Then, a series of bright orange explosions raced across the faded orange pillars supporting the structure. The bleachers above the explosions fell immediately.
The press box followed, lurching backward in a graceful fall. A few seconds later, the back of the press box slammed against the grown. Cheers rose from the crowd, no doubt fueled by sentiment and anticipation.
Renovation will take two years
With the first big step in the renovation underway, OSU students and staff, and Corvallis residents will watch the stadium undergo a striking transformation.
“This is a game-changer for our football program,” OSU head coach Jonathan Smith noted on the stadium’s renovation website. “We want to show our recruits that Reser Stadium is intertwined within our community and campus every day of the year. As we bring families and recruits to campus, they will see the construction of the stadium and see the momentum of this program.”
Though the entire renovation is scheduled to finish in the summer of 2023, the university notes that the Beavers will play in the stadium next year.
The stadium complex will be more than just a home to the OSU Beavers football program. It will include a student welcome center that will boast various exhibits highlighting OSU’s academic and athletic strengths. The center will also provide meeting spaces for faculty, staff, and students.
Additionally, the complex will house a wellness clinic on the southeast side of the stadium. It will be a four-story, 32,000-square-foot building. The university’s student health services department will be housed on the third and fourth floors of the clinic.
“By completing Reser now we ensure the long-term financial sustainability for the OSU Athletics Department and all student-athletes,” OSU Director of Athletics Scott Barnes noted. “Increased revenue will provide financial stability throughout OSU Athletics where 70% of the revenues required to operate 17 women and men’s varsity sports are generated from football and Reser Stadium activities.”