With contributions and sales of more than $17 million, Oregon State is more than halfway to its goal of $32 million to begin expansion on Reser Stadium this spring.

Athletic Director Bob De Carolis, while optimistic that the optimal figure can be achieved, says even if funding is short at that point, construction could still begin in May or June.

'We are looking at some contingency plans that would change some things in the project,' De Carolis says. 'By not building certain things, we could lower the price on the front end and give ourselves an eight- or nine-month window of additional selling time to put everything back in. We are still targeting this spring to break ground. We are pretty close to being able to fund a contingency program right now.'

OSU officials are at what De Carolis calls the 'design developmental stage' of the first of three phases of the Raise Reser Project, which will add 8,000 seats to push capacity to 43,000 for the 2005 season.

'We are two-thirds through the design process, and we have the seats and a life-size mock-up of what the loge area will look like,' the OSU athletic director says. 'In the next two weeks, we are hosting events in display areas in the Valley Center and the OSU Foundation building where people will be able to sit in the actual seats. The more we can get people to feel it and touch it, we hope it will help spur sales.'

Season-ticket sales were at 21,500 last season after being at 23,000 for the 2002 season. All games sold out during both seasons, 'and we actually made more revenue this year, because you make more on single-game ticket sales if you sell out,' De Carolis says. He says Oregon State must sell about 28,000 season tickets 'to make it work' in renovated Reser Stadium beginning with the 2005 campaign.

• Jay John has Oregon State's basketball team headed in the right direction, but the second-year coach made two tactical errors at the end of regulation in the Beavers' heartbreaking overtime loss to Washington on Saturday.

With OSU ahead by three after Chris Stephens' two free throws with 5.3 seconds left, the Beavers should have pressed and forced the Huskies to use time getting the ball upcourt. Instead, OSU let the Huskies roll the ball to midcourt, saving valuable time until Nate Robinson picked it up.

With the clock under five seconds, the Beavers should have fouled intentionally. At the worst, they would have gotten the ball back ahead a point with just a couple of ticks left. John chose not to foul, and Robinson's 3-pointer at the buzzer forced overtime.

• Oregon State reportedly has added five verbal commitments, including 6-2, 225-pound linebacker Alan Darlin of Elk Grove, Calif., whom OSU coaches believe has the potential to be a four-year starter. Others include tailback Patrick Fuller, 6-0, 200, of Covina, Calif.; linebacker Wallace Bates, 6-1, 210, of Woodland Hills, Calif.; and offensive linemen Adam Spear, 6-2, 265, of West Hills, Calif., and Jon Ioane, 6-4, 315, of Tustin, Calif.

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