Highmark Stadium Only Has So Many Years Left: Here are The Structure Issues
While the Buffalo Bills have been performing well on the field the last two seasons, the "off-the-field" issues have been on the top of fans' minds and the last few months have brought the looming potential new stadium discussion to the forefront.
Back in June, reports surfaced that the Bills wanted a brand new stadium in Orchard Park that could be ready by 2025 at the earliest.
That led to more and more information about the recent findings of a stadium study that Terry and Kim Pegula had done on Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park and those findings led Bills ownership to choose a new stadium, instead of a highly renovated Highmark Stadium.
The Buffalo News is reporting that Pegula Sports and Entertainment officials are saying that a renovated stadium (which would cost one billion dollars), is "not realistic," according to PSE spokesman Jim Wilkinson.
In contrast, a brand new stadium would cost slightly more (relatively), at $1.4 billion, according to The Buffalo News.
PSE officials say that there are many small issues that are mounting up with the 50-year-old stadium and those issues need to be constantly addressed.
That's not to say that Highmark Stadium isn't safe, because right now it is, but there are structural issues that will need to be addressed.
The Buffalo News says that an engineering and architecture firm, which was hired by Erie County, found issues with the upper deck (300 level) that will require seating panel and support replacements within "five to seven years." The lease runs out with Erie County in 2023.
Other issues that have been found with Highmark Stadium include the stadium's water and electrical systems; cracks and deterioration throughout the stadium (caused by freeze-thaw cycles); and the continued wear on the stadium with weather and erosion would likely result in the "reconstruction" of the stadium's upper deck.
The lower ring wall, club seat roofs, and restroom tower roofs are also areas that will need attending, according to the study six years ago and updated study in 2019, per The Buffalo News report. There was even a power outage during a day at training camp that is an ongoing concern with power and water issues.
These are just some of the issues and concerns with Highmark Stadium and why the Peguals rather have a brand new stadium, than spend one billion renovating a 50-year-old stadium that is leased through the county.
I was at the stadium two weekends ago and you can definitely see the cracks in the concourse of the stadium, although those are not a safety concern, but rather an aesthetic issue right now.
I think if you ask most fans they would admit that Highmark Stadium needs significant renovations to keep it viable for years to come, but if the cost is $1 billion (renovations) and $1.4 billion (new stadium), then I don't blame the Pegulas for wanting a new stadium, which I'm sure the NFL and its owners side with as well.
The biggest question that remains is how much of the cost will be taxpayer-funded?
What are your thoughts on a potential new Bills stadium?