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Sitting in a Baltimore nonprofit showroom: iconic 'Maryland' floor boards from Cole Field House

There it sits in a Baltimore nonprofit warehouse, in pieces stacked side-to-side along a wall like Scrabble letters waiting to be placed on the game board.

But these unique slats of hardwood aren’t to be held in the palm of your hand.

When the letters are interlocked and spread out as they were 60-plus years ago, they’re as tall as a shooting guard, and 75 feet wide.

Baltimore’s Second Chance, the nonprofit that offers reclaimed and renewed items and materials for sale, has the iconic “MARYLAND” lettering from the endlines of the University of Maryland basketball court from 1955 when Cole Field House opened.

The one-of-a-kind flooring is listed on the organization’s website under featured products, and pitched as “Hallowed Ground.”

As described there:

Savor and Save the floor of this institution’s iconic “Red and White” MARYLAND lettering. Think about the multitude of incredible people who performed here from all Genres of Sports, to International Ping-Pong Tournaments with President Nixon, to Hollywood performers, to Musical and Comedy Super Stars! The list goes on!

Second Chance has plenty of flooring in stock — enough in different types and colors and sizes to fit most remodeling or home project needs. But this wood is different.

“It’s very unique to begin with,” said Cari Clemens, direction of donations and acquisitions at Second Chance.

Clemens has been with Second Chance for eight years. She said a few years ago she got a call from a representative of the owner of the wood.

“The shorter boards were signed by players or coaches and sold at quite a premium,” Clemens said.

But other pallets were in storage, wrapped in plastic and a coating of dust. They hadn’t been pieced back together since they were dismantled from the floor of Cole Field House. It wasn’t clear what they were.

“At best, I thought this was an interesting story,” Clemens said. “Why not?”

So after acquiring the pallets and keeping them in their own storage facility, the staff at Second Chance turned to some volunteers to re-assemble the wood to see if all the red-faced pieces came together to form what they thought they might.

With the help of volunteers from the staff at Under Armour, that suspicion was confirmed about a year ago — they had the end zone flooring from both ends of the Terrapins’ home court.

In October, the wood was moved from storage on Warner Street to the Second Chance shop for display, an eye-popping backdrop to the lighting fixtures and other unique items on the showroom floor.

“We have a lot of traditional flooring to sell. This is a unique scenario,” Clemens said. “I thought it was this great coup, this great secret.”

Some other websites offer Cole Field House items. The university sold pieces of the former basketball arena in 2016.

Proceeds from that sale — which made available seats, seating signs and lockers — went toward a major renovation of the old building.

The facility reopened this year as an athletics and academics complex, after a $150-million transformation. Most notably, it now holds the indoor facilities for Maryland’s football program.

But Second Chance has these floor boards.

“We do have intentions of selling it: but not in pieces — as a whole,” Clemens said.

She said it would make for a great display piece for a Maryland fan with space — and funds — to spare.

The store is near M&T Bank Stadium at 1700 Ridgely St. The asking price for the flooring is $150,000.

Twitter: @seanjwelsh

Email: sjwelsh@baltsun.com

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