Fort Lauderdale extends O's lease


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Orioles will hold spring training at Fort Lauderdale Stadium for at least two more years and will work with the city to determine if a permanent spring training complex can be established at the stadium site.

With the team's commitment to help pay to repair the 40- year-old stadium's crumbling roof, commissioners agreed yesterday to extend the Orioles' lease through 2004. The roof repairs are expected to cost $250,000, and the Orioles have agreed to contribute up to $150,000 and the money raised from a new $1 surcharge on each ticket and car parked at the stadium.

The city and team also will hire a firm to do schematic drawings of the 50 acres that include Fort Lauderdale Stadium and adjacent Lockhart Stadium to determine if the site could accommodate both the team's major- and minor-league operations. The work is to be conducted within the next 60 days.

Joe Foss, the Orioles' chief operating officer, said the team is pursuing other options for a permanent complex but likes Fort Lauderdale, where it has trained for seven years. "Let's take this in small individual steps and find out if it fits," Foss said.

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