CORVALLIS, Ore. — The west side of Reser Stadium in Corvallis was imploded just before 8 a.m. Friday morning, Jan. 7, as part of a $153 million renovation project at Oregon State University.
The public was able to watch a livestream of multiple vantage points of the implosion. Several roads in the area were closed to vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Homes, businesses and campus buildings in the immediate area were cleared during the event.
Standing in the rain and dark, fans and spectators stood waiting for the big implosion.
"I just wanted to see the energy for myself," said Nick Carlson, as he sat outside the stadium, waiting to watch it happen. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime event. You only get to see Reser explode once. Implode, sorry, implode once."
Raven Waldron, Carleson's fiancé, called the moment "historic."
"We met here at OSU, so we've been here for the past 9 1/2 years and Reser's been a staple," Waldron said. "Gone on a lot of dates to football games."
To some, the implosion of the west side stands was more than about watching a piece of history fall. To Neil Marshall and 40 of his closest friends and family, it was a home during Beaver football games since 1986.
"My 30-year-old son is here today and his first game was in those seats on the west side," Marshall said.
As they stood outside Reser and waited, they talked about past memories. His sister-in-law, Claudia Marshall, said when she was a student at Oregon State, she would make her way over to the west side stands during games.
"Started out on the student side, cause I was a student here from '86 to '90 and my husband had seats on the west side since 1986," she said.
Then just before 8 a.m., more than 200 pounds of explosives sent the west side stands crashing to the ground in seconds.
"It caught me off guard a little bit," Claudia Marshall said. "The noise, the rumble and everything went straight from my feet all the way to my belly and up through. It was done in a second."
"It was emotional. It really was," Neil Marshall said. "There's a ton of memories wrapped up in there that we'll always have. We won't have the stadium, but we'll always have the memories.
The renovation project, called Completing Reser, includes construction of the new west side of the stadium, a welcome center for prospective new students and their families and a wellness clinic for students, OSU employees and community members.
The project is expected to be completed before the start of the 2023 football season. It's being funded by more than $90 million in philanthropy and by revenues from football stadium activities.
Various revenue sources will fund the wellness center, and new revenues from enrollment growth will fund the student welcome center.