Maryland getting close on recommendation for Cole Field House future School said to be leaning toward new $90M arena

November 21, 1997|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

University of Maryland president William E. Kirwan said yesterday that a recommendation to replace or renovate Cole Field House will be made in a campus report to the state general assembly by Dec. 1.

"Things are at a preliminary stage right now," said Kirwan, who began discussions about Cole in a meeting with the Board of Regents' finance committee yesterday morning. "There are no final decisions. It's a very complex project."

But one campus source said Kirwan is favoring the recommendation of two advisory committees to build a $90 million, 17,000-seat basketball arena to replace the 42-year-old Cole. The two separate committees, one of which included athletic director Debbie Yow, both submitted reports to Kirwan on Nov. 14, opting for a new facility over renovation.

The prominent problem seems to be the funding of the new arena, which would be built on the north end of campus near the intersection of Metzerott Road and University Boulevard.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has previously proposed that the state would pay $35 million toward the new facility, which was then estimated at $80 million. Athletic department officials also said that they believed $25 million could be raised by selling the naming rights of the arena.

The remainder of the cost was to be paid by either the private sector or campus resources. But a source said the university will be seeking more financial help from the state to complete the on-campus project.

Over the years, Cole has seemingly become outdated with no air conditioning, limited office space and a leaky roof.

The Maryland Stadium Authority was then commissioned in the summer and handed a report to the advisory groups that concluded a new facility and renovation would cost nearly the same amount.

Kirwan said yesterday that discussions about Cole would continue to take place through the end of the month.

If a new arena is approved, construction probably would begin around the summer of 1999 and be completed in 2001.

"There are lots of questions left," Kirwan said. "One thing that is safe to say is that in the next few months there will be a major expenditure to Cole."

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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