Oklahoma approves $370 million stadium renovation


Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione has been a busy man.

First the Sooners' top boss gave head coach Bob Stoops a contract extension that will reportedly make him the second-highest-paid college football coach in the country behind Alabama's Nick Saban. On Wednesday, he was front and center as the school announced regents had approved a whopping $370 million renovation of Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Already one of the nicest stadiums in the Big 12, the approved plan is set to give the Sooners a world-class facility to play football in.

A fully enclosed seating bowl in the lower level, new suites, a fancy fan plaza, additional escalators, a spiffy new pressbox and a huge new jumbotron are among the amenities slated for the stadium. Updates to the nearby Barry Switzer Center will bring an expanded new weight room, while the football coaches are slated to receive 11 new position meeting rooms, new offices and some state-of-the-art medical equipment to keep players healthy.

Consider the bar raised.

"It's incredibly exciting," Stoops said on the school's website. "It shows you the great commitment that's here at the University of Oklahoma from President Boren and the Board of Regents, through all the administration to continually push forward and pursue greatness."

Based on the timeline provided, the Sooners are hoping to see the project completed in time for the 2016 college football season and not have to adjust their schedule in any respect. Work would begin after the 2015 campaign is over.

You can view the entire set of renderings that were released by the school here.

The upgrades to Memorial Stadium and surrounding football facilities certainly bring the Sooners in line with their rivals and are part of what seems like a never-ending arms race in college athletics to build the latest and greatest. Oklahoma State recently upgraded their stadium, Texas A&M's Kyle Field is undergoing a $400 million renovation and Texas is exploring adding seats to Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium in the near future.

Still, one can't help but admire what the Sooners are trying to do with their slick-looking plans for the future. Boomer Sooner indeed.

*Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter **@BryanDFischer.*

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