Penn State officials intend to seek $15 million from the state for work on the expansion of Beaver Stadium.
The enactment into law of Senate Bill 10 will mean that $650 million of state funds for construction of stadiums and other capital projects designed to spur economic development will be available.
The bill will provide $320 million for stadium projects in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with the remaining $330 million designated for construction projects that will help boost economic progress throughout the state. Penn State is applying for the funds under the economic stimulus portion of the bill, because of the extraordinary impact that Penn State football has on the economy of central Pennsylvania, and the increased positive impact that the stadium expansion could provide.
The Penn State request for funding for the stadium is in addition to, and completely separate from, the commitment by Gov. Tom Ridge to provide $200 million over five years for capital projects that the governor and the state Legislature have approved for the University for academic buildings.
A recently completed economic impact report (see Intercom's Feb. 11 issue) shows that Penn State attracts nearly 1 million visitors to the University Park campus each year for sporting, entertainment and cultural events. The average visitor spends approximately $125 per day. With the expansion project adding approximately 10,000 seats to Beaver Stadium, the expansion will mean an increase of several million dollars per year being spent in the Centre Region, in addition to the job creation and direct spending that will result from construction of the $85 million project.
Most of the funding for the expansion will come from bonds issued by the University, which would be retired with revenue from the lease of skyboxes, club-level seating, tickets sales from new seats and other contributions.
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