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At Camden Yards, they're set to paint the town green; $1.25M re-coating job will take until November; Stadiums


If this is the summer you planned to paint the house and you're dreading all the trips up the ladder to scrape and prime, consider the task facing the Orioles and their landlord: re-painting Camden Yards.

The deep green paint has faded on the roof of the upper deck and the structural steel below. Preparation for re-coating the 9-year-old stadium has been under way for a year. The job will take 10,000 gallons of paint and cost $1.25 million, to be shared equally by the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority.

"It should be back to the original color, it's original glory, when we are done," said Richard Slosson, executive director of the stadium authority.

The team and authority applied some test coats of color last year in an effort to match as closely as possible the original color, known as Camden Green, which came to be a signature of the stadium.

Contracts for the work were approved yesterday at a meeting of the stadium authority. In other business, members also learned about their new responsibility overseeing renovation of the state's thoroughbred racetracks.

Orioles fans will notice scaffolding dangling from the upper deck roof of Camden Yards in coming weeks. Warm weather is required for the painting, preventing the work from being done in the off-season.

The tight schedule calls for a Nov. 1 completion and efforts to minimize disruption on game days. No painting will be done when a day game is scheduled, and workers will knock off at 2 p.m. on days when the team plays at night. Surfaces closer than 10 feet to the ground -- which fans could conceivably come into contact with -- will be painted at least five hours before game time, to give the paint time to dry.

Scaffolding will be suspended from above for upper portions so the sidewalks will not be blocked.

A quick-drying acrylic spray paint will be used for the roof and scoreboard to prevent passing cars and structures from being colored by drifting clouds of green. Paint blown off course is supposed to dry before it reaches ground level, said Willard L. Mangrum, manager of the project for the stadium authority.

The rest of the steel will get coats of polyurethane paint applied by brush and roller.

Sherwin Williams won the bid to provide the paint.

"This was a job that I was really interested in doing," said Mike Aivaliotis, vice president of Avalotis Painting Co. of Verona, Pa., which won the bid to apply the paint for $915,160.

The company, which also painted parts of Baltimore's PSINet Stadium and Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium, tried but failed to get the job of painting Oriole Park when it was built. So it jumped at the chance to get the re-painting work, he said.

"It's Camden Yards. It's the quintessential ballpark. It's like painting a modern-day Parthenon," he said.

He estimates using up to 18 painters a day at the peak of the job, from the local hiring hall of the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades.

In other action at the stadium authority meeting, members received the latest details on their new responsibilities relating to the planned renovations of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

The owners of the tracks had asked the state for bonding assistance to finance some of the work. Lawmakers approved a compromise on the final day of the General Assembly session Monday.

The bill requires the track owners to submit a master plan for renovations to the Maryland Racing Commission. The tracks will have to finance the first $9.5 million of the work before bonds -- backed by money diverted from the winners' pools -- will be issued.

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