Tuesday, May 1, 2007

MARYLAND TO RENOVATE STADIUM

Expansion of Byrd Stadium (pictured right) is set to begin in December, but athletic department officials at Maryland today revealed a grand plan that would ultimately swell stadium capacity to about 60,000, and include other changes intended to lure the nation's top talent and give the entire program a face lift.

The cost for phase one of the project is $50.8 million, to be paid entirely by the athletic department. Maryland sold the naming rights of the field to Chevy Chase Bank for $20 million last year, and borrowed $35 million from the University System of MarylandThe first phase of expansion – scheduled to be completed by August 2010 – includes 64 swanky suites with flat screen televisions, food services, and indoor and outdoor seating. Maryland can't move forward with its other plans, though, until at least 50 of the e 64 luxury suites have been sold.

With the expected revenue from the suites, Maryland can then implement pragmatic perks, such as new restrooms and concessions, and start bigger projects like lowering the field. That would enable the 3,000 fans in the first 10 rows – which are currently obstructed views - to finally see over the players.

Not to be outdone, Virginia Tech immediately announced plans to expand Lane Stadium (pictured left). The improvements will be unveiled this week along with a new campaign with the slogan “Anything Maryland Can Do, We Can Do Better (Even Basketball).”

A Hokie spokesperson contacted by TAH said any resemblance between the new improvements and the Taj Mahal was “merely a coincidence.”

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