The Ohio State football team could draw a capacity crowd for its spring scrimmage in Ohio Stadium on Saturday and it still wouldn’t come close to the record 100,189 who attended the event in 2016.
For the second straight year, the stadium capacity will be limited to about 78,000 due to an ongoing three-year, $39 million refurbishment and renovation project that will be obvious to all in attendance.
“We’ll have about the same amount of seating as we had the year before,” said Don Patko, OSU associate athletic director for facilities operation.
>> Video: Ohio Stadium renovations continue
This time, fans will not be allowed in the vast C deck on the west side of the stadium, where seating has been removed to facilitate repair, cleaning and resealing of the concrete.
Also, demolition of B deck in the northwest corner is well underway and some steel work and electrical enhancement already has been done there to make way for 16 new luxury suites and 35 loge boxes.
“It’s a three-year phased project,” Patko said. “And with the three years of phasing we have three years of concrete repair and two years of suite and loge-box construction. … We have one more year of restoration, (which) will be the north end of C (deck).”
Because of the renovations in B deck, approximately 2,600 seats will be lost for the upcoming 2018 season, dropping the official game-day capacity to 102,854, according to the university. Once finished, the additional suites and loges are expected to return 525 seats, bringing the capacity to 103,379, short of the 104,944 it had been since 2014.
But as Patko and athletic director Gene Smith pointed out when the project was announced, many of the seats lost in B deck had obstructed views because of the steel columns used to support C deck in the original construction of the stadium, which opened in 1922.
Once the current project is completed, the university said, those with obstructed-view seats in B deck will have better lighting, larger TV screens to make up for the interference, and an enhanced sound system.
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