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David Reed's Favorite Projects

Boone Pickens Stadium, Part 1

Part 1: Two years of research

When you ask David Reed about his favorite architecture projects, Oklahoma State University’s Boone Pickens Stadium always comes up. Reed first contemplated improvements to Lewis Field while attending OSU’s architectural school, so to get involved in its actual renovation and expansion proved a dream come true. This started for him in 2005, when Reed – already an industry veteran, with 15 years of experience – joined the Sparks Sports architectural team. That Tulsa firm was led by Gary Sparks, renowned for his historic renovation and expansion of OSU’s Gallagher-Iba Arena. By 2005, Sparks Sports had already redesigned both sidelines of Lewis Field, a project backed by Texas entrepreneur (and OSU alum) Boone Pickens. Reed became the project architect for Phase Three, the West Endzone.


“We were trying to connect two different sides (of Lewis Field), the north side and the south side, which shocking enough were not exactly the same,” Reed said with a smile. “There’s more rows on one side than there is on the other, the earth’s not flat, and they don’t line up.


“We had a core team of four individuals. At times during the project, we would advance that team to 12, and up to 20 people, trying to get all the construction documents out.”


Even though they were already deep into the project, Reed’s efforts started with almost two years of eye-opening research into what it takes to operate an NCAA Division 1 football program. This ranged from studying the good and bad of competing facilities to grasping all the different day-to-day activities players, coaches, and support staff.


“I actually traveled with the team as an equipment manager for a game, just to try to get a better handle on how the team moves,” said Reed. “Seeing all the things they go through really opened mine and our design team’s eyes on what it takes to compete at the D1 level.


“The philosophy at the OSU School of Architecture is form follows function, and it’s that which creates beauty. So, if we can understand what the functions are, and then get the form to fit that to enhance and help them function at the highest level they can, then it’s going to be beautiful. Ideally, it’s understanding what it is their needs are and then how do we design the spaces and arrange the spaces to maximize their ability to hit on all cylinders and best use every minute of instruction that they have under NCAA rules.


“The NCAA has very set and strict guidelines on how much time you can spend with players… how much practice time they have, and all those things,” Reed explained. “So how can we design a facility that maximizes those minutes with a student-athlete? That’s what we pondered. How they can become better students and athletes and minimize time spent walking to A and B and C and around back to D.”


David Reed worked on this project from 2005-09, while an employee of Sparks Sports.

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