On Friday, Jan. 18, the Oregon Board of Higher Education said yes to a proposed $5 million renovation for Autzen Stadium on the campus of the University of Oregon, and will be funded primarily by long-time U of O benefactor and co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight and his capital contracting company, Phit Too, LLC.

The plan calls for improvements to the stadium's accessibility features, addressing problems like the human bottleneck on the north side created by the pre-game and post-game rush to and from the parking lot.

To accomplish this lofty goal, as well as to bring the structure in line with the current Americans with Disabilities Act's requirements, the approved recommendations include removing current ramps on the stadium berm's north face, re-grading a section of it and replacing it with a series of new and better ramps. In addition, a 20-foot concrete switchback and new stairs will be added in order to facilitate the efficient and safe flow of fan foot traffic. Once the facelift on the north side is completed (making the steep hill and its inherent difficulties fade into oblivion like visiting football teams at the home of the Ducks), fans of all ages, able-bodied or otherwise, will have easy, free-flowing access to their seats.

But these are not the only big changes woven into the details of the renovation project. It will also include several aesthetic improvements. As the finishing touches are made on the soon-to-be berm-less north side of the stadium, crews will start trucking in more than 30 live trees. They will arrive already mature and stretching 35 to 40 feet tall. The varieties will include Douglas fir, giant sequoia, coast redwood, incense cedar, Canadian hemlock and western red cedar.

To keep these trees company on non-game days, contractors will carve two gullies for streams to bubble and splash around their roots. Complete with moss-blanketed basalt stones, these man-made waterways will enhance this pleasant and beautiful nature scene.

According to the Register-Guard, the $5 million bottom line for these new renovations is twice the amount of money ($2.5 million) it took to complete all of the construction on Autzen Stadium back in 1967, its inaugural year. In 2002, the stadium underwent a major, $90 million renovation that added 12,000 seats and 32 skyboxes, increasing the stadium's maximum seating capacity to 54,000.