Ohio Stadium is the football stadium at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. It is also referred to as the Horseshoe (or just shoe) due to the unique open ended horseshoe shape. The stadium completed construction in 1922, at a cost of slightly over $1.3 million. The construction was unique in that it was largely funded by public donation (about $800,000 if I remember correctly).

Prior to construction, the university actually had student volunteers go door to door through the city collecting donations. In addition, fund raisers and parades were held to collect money and raise awareness. The university campaign focused on keeping our students healthy, and during this era just after WWI the public thought it important to keep our youth healthy and fit in the event another major war broke out. Construction began entirely on donated funds, and it was not until later in construction that a loan had to be taken out by the backers (yes, it was not funded by the university at all, not a single penny) to finish construction.

The first game was played in the stadium on October 7, 1922. The then 66,210 seats were mostly empty, leaving the backers quite nervous. However, the doubts about drawing a crowd to the stadium were quickly dispelled on October 21 of that year, when a crowd of over 71,000 packed into the stadium for the game against OSU's major rival, Michigan. Through the years, field seats and elevated box seats were added, as were stands on the open South end, to boost seating capacity to 89,841. Otherwise, the stadium remained relatively unchanged except for the addition of an updated scoreboard in 1984, at the cost of $2.6 million (twice the original cost of the stadium).

The original surface of the stadium was turf, which was kept in place until 1970. In 1972, AstroTurf was installed, to be replaced by Super Turf in 1979, and finally Prescription Athletic Turf in 1990. The stadium is constructed with several "decks". The lowest level next to the field is the A Deck, followed by B deck up above these and below C deck. The worst seats are typically in B deck, however these are also the only seats with shelter from rain.

In the spring of 1998, a renovation began on Ohio Stadium to increase capacity and bring it up to date. Rather than build a new stadium at a cost of several hundred million dollars, it was decided to renovate the existing stadium, and keep it's rich history as part of Ohio State athletics intact. The renovation will expand the upper C deck, add a permanent south stands, and increase restroom and vending facilities. The stadium dorm rooms have been removed, allowing for renovated and modern band facilities and team locker rooms. In addition, a permanent band practice field will be built preventing the need for towing cars from the parking lot during band practice.

In it's current state (Sept. 2000), the playing field has been lowered approximately 15 feet to add better field seating and give a better view. This has added an AA deck, which provides far better view than the previous field seats where all you saw were the backs of the players on the sidelines. The east and west C deck expansion has been completed, however only the east deck is suitable for usage at this time. The band facilities and new locker rooms have been completed and the permanent south stands are finished, complete with restrooms and vending stations. Finally, a new state of the art, full color, high resolution scoreboard has been added allowing for instant replays for all in attendance (well, except people in the south stands...). In addition, elevators, stairs, rest rooms, and vendors have been added all over the stadium, making it easier to get in and out as well as bringing the facility up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance.

After the 2000 football season, the rest of the project will be completed. The seating on the west side will be completed, as well as new press boxes and luxury suites installed there. Finally, the outside of the stadium will finish renovation with a new concrete skin. The entire renovation will cost $187 million, and is funded entirely through the sale of club seats and luxury boxes, as well as increased vendor and ticket revenue due to the larger capacity. Once again, Ohio State will have a state of the art stadium, without university funds paying for the renovation.

Information for this node was obtained from a PBS documenatary aired in Columbus, and www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com, the official website of Ohio State Athletics

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