NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ The Norman City Council has approved an ordinance that would allow a major Norman thoroughfare to be moved so Oklahoma Memorial Stadium can expand.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to close portions of public right-of-way and public utility easements on Jenkins Avenue, between Lindsey Street and Brooks Street. A Cleveland County judge must approve all vacated easements by the city.
University of Oklahoma officials want to relocate 900 lineal feet of Jenkins Avenue about 110 feet to the east to accommodate additions to the east side of the stadium.
Public traffic will be rerouted to Classen Boulevard, while emergency traffic will be rerouted down Faerie Queen Lane and through some existing parking lots.
``This is, for us, the beginning of the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium expansion,'' said Brian Maddy, OU vice president for administrative affairs.
Maddy said the road will be closed for about a year while the expansion takes place.
Residents in the area of the relocation have been cooperative with the university, Maddy said.
``We've been working real hard with them,'' Maddy said. ``We have been talking to them and trying to deal with that, and those talks have been going real well.''
OU has not purchased any of the properties in the area so far.
According to Maddy, the total project will increase the stadium's capacity to more than 80,000. The project includes a new upper deck on the east side, which will add 4,500 general public seats; 2,265 club seats, a new club lounge and 27 new suites capable of seating 18 people each, for a total of 486.
The project is expected to take about a year, with a completion date of January 2003.
OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione told council members in an earlier meeting that the stadium had served the university, the city and the state for 75 years.
``We believe now is the time to provide the improvement and additions to Oklahoma Memorial Stadium,'' he said.
``It might be a dramatic term to use, but its a shrine. Some of the greatest games ever played in the history of the sport of football have been played on that field.''