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EAST LANSING, MI-Michigan State University crews have spent the summer vacation creating a framework for a $64-million renovation of Spartan Stadium, a project the school hopes will boost its athletic revenues. Construction is set for completion by the 2005 football season.

The project, which will add 24 luxury boxes and 862 club seats, marks the biggest facelift for the 81-year-old stadium since its upper decks were added in 1957. Eventually, Michigan State says it hopes to clear an annual profit of $1 million, after paying off its debt, from the luxury suites and club seats, athletic director Ron Mason says.

But there are no guarantees, he acknowledges. “We have to have a good team, and the economy has to hang in there,” Mason says. “Is it a risk? Yeah. But we did enough research to make us think this would work. There might be a time where we wish we’d built twice as many boxes.”

Michigan State requires that its athletic department, with 25 sports and more than 700 athletes, support itself financially. The department has done so, turning small profits in recent years until 2002-03, when it finished with a loss of $800,000.

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