Towson considering Minnegan expansion 7,000 seats would be added

MSA to conduct study

Stadiums

July 02, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Towson University, trying to upgrade its athletic program, wants to upgrade its stadium as part of that process.

Minnegan Stadium, home of the university's lacrosse, football and track and field programs, is due for an increase in seating over the next few years, and yesterday, the Maryland Stadium Authority approved an agreement with the university to conduct a feasibility study for the project.

The study, which Towson athletics director Wayne Edwards hopes to see finished by Thanksgiving, is for a project that would bring the stadium's capacity from 5,000 seats to about 12,000, add artificial turf in place of natural grass, and add a field house with locker rooms.

The need to turn people away from the stadium has been rare. Attendance for events barely scrapes the 3,000 mark. However, Edwards said that with most Patriot League stadiums in the 10,000- to 15,000-seat range, improvement is a must if the school plans to attract better student-athletes.

"We're addressing needs that we're going to have in a short period of time," Edwards said. "Students look at where they're going to play as a factor in choosing a school."

Edwards also said the school expects an increase in students that might necessitate more seats, as would home-and-home football series with Brown, Cornell and Yale, schools with significant alumni in the area.

Artificial turf would be more agreeable to the foul weather of late winter, when the lacrosse teams begin their seasons.

Stadium authority executive director Bruce Hoffman said that requests for proposals have been received for the project, for which the agency was allotted $200,000.

In other business, the agency approved an agreement with the University of Maryland for the design of a new arena to replace Cole Field House.

Last year, the stadium authority spent $700,000 analyzing facility options for basketball at the university, and by August, it hopes to approve a lead construction manager and an architect, who will help design and determine the cost of the building.

The original study found that an arena would cost $106 million. The goal is to bring that number down to $80.8 million, the amount likely to be available from state, university and private funds.

Hoffman said the agency and university would like to have the study done by December.

The stadium authority also approved regulations that would permit tailgating for football games at the Ravens' stadium, but not at Oriole Park.

Pub Date: 7/02/98

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