All dressed up: Byrd Stadium builds Terps spirits with new five-story structure


COLLEGE PARK -- Rising out of the rubble is a building that suggests that Maryland finally is going the extra yard in renovating its athletic facilities.

In place of the 40-year-old press box at Byrd Stadium is a five-story structure that will house more than just the literary lions on fall afternoons.

The entire stadium bowl has been cleared of the deteriorating concrete, repaired and resurfaced with a gleaming white finish. The aluminum benches are new. Men's and women's restroom facilities are being increased.

"This is going to be one of the prettiest on-campus stadiums in the country," said Mickey Kovach, executive director of the Athletic Capital Campaign and an assistant to athletic director Andy Geiger.

This first phase of the renovation will cost $13.2 million. It began last November and is scheduled for completion before the Terps open their football season Sept. 7 here against Virginia.

The first floor of the five-story building will include 412 chairback box seats under cover. This level, the arcade, is for campaign donors who contributed $20,000 or more for two seats and agreed to become Terrapin Club members (minimum of $1,200 a year) and to buy season tickets.

"We raised $4 million in the private sector this way to meet the state match that's helping to underwrite the cost," Kovach said.

The second floor includes 138 theater-type seats for university regents and officials and their guests. The third level is the press box that will accommodate more than 200 members of the media.

The fourth level contains boxes for coaches, scouts, visiting athletic directors, scoreboard operators and public address announcers. The top floor, the observation deck, is primarily for cameras and also will include additional seating. The building will have two elevators.

"The building has seven times more space than the old press box and will be used year-round," Kovach said. "It has heating and air conditioning. There are facilities for the athletic director and coaches to have meetings and to entertain recruits, alumni, contributors and the media at luncheons and dinners."

For now, the stadium capacity will be approximately the same, 41,500. In subsequent phases, about 5,000 of the current temporary bleacher seats will be removed so that more restrooms and concession stands can be erected.

The plan then is to add a goal line to goal line upper deck with 18,000 seats on the north side. That would raise Byrd's capacity to about 48,000.

Also ahead is a new football team building, with baseball, lacrosse and other sports moving into the current football quarters, and an indoor practice facility.

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