McDaniel College in Westminster set to break ground on new stadium project

McDaniel College is scheduled to break ground this week on its new stadium project, designed to support Green Terror football, women's field hockey, men and women's lacrosse and men's and women's track and field, in addition to special events.

The multi-million dollar project includes construction of a two-story brick and concrete structure to be built on the site of the current grandstand.

The stadium will retain its "bowl" setting and its tradition of drive-in tailgating, while increasing seating capacity. McDaniel College was named one of the top tailgating schools in the nation by The Weather Channel in October 2011.

Features of the project include concessions, public restrooms, coaches' areas, observation boxes, a large press box, filming areas, home and visiting team meeting rooms and a reception and gathering room.

On Friday, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m., at Bair Stadium, about 100 guests will take part in the invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony. Those invited include McDaniel students, faculty and staff, members of board of trustees, alumni and friends of the college who have made gifts to the project.

Officials said a 90-year-old shovel, first used in 1922 at the groundbreaking of McDaniel Hall, will be used at the event — the 14th time its been used for a groundbreaking event, officials said.

Leading the ceremony will be McDaniel President Dr. Roger Casey; Martin K.P. Hill, chair of the McDaniel Board of Trustees and president of Hill Development Group; and Ken R. Gill, a 1961 alumnus who is also chair of the Stadium Project Committee.

Officials did not give an estimate of the project this week, but previous estimates placed the overall stadium renovation at $8 million. Funding for the project has been generated through individual gifts and not drawn from the college's operating budget, officials said.

Cheryl Knauer, director of media relations for McDaniel, said the targeted completion date is the start of the Green Terror football season. The first home game is slated for Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012.

In preparation for the stadium project, the college installed new lighting in 2010. According to the McDaniel College website, that project was made possible through a $100,000 donation by the Yingling family — which includes former Alumni Association President Carroll "Splinter" Yingling, his brother John, their respective wives, Susan Morales Yingling and Sharon Hafner Yingling; and parents, Mary Lee Crawford Yingling and husband Loring who passed away in 2009.

They collectively made the gift after learning about college plans for the stadium renovation project.

The first athletic field for then-Western Maryland College was purchased in 1890. The first football game was played in Westminster, against Pennsylvania College, (now Gettysburg College) on Oct. 31, 1891.

In 1921, college president Albert Norman Ward announced a campaign to create a new athletic field. Hoffa Field was dedicated in 1922 and is located on the current stadium site.

Another major renovation took place in 1980 - 1981 with the construction of an all-weather track, which required the football field to shift slightly to the west to accommodate eight lanes. New metal grandstands and a press box were also added.

A contribution for the project from trustee Scott Bair resulted in the naming of the renovated stadium that was dedicated in 1981. The track was resurfaced in 1997.

Field improvements followed the 1996 signing by the Baltimore Ravens to hold summer training camp at the college. McDaniel shared the costs with the Baltimore Ravens to install Sportexe artificial turf in 2004.


Follow Jim Joyner on Twitter at @jimjoyner

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