Maryland football field to carry $3 million price tag


artist's rendering of the new field at Byrd Stadium (University of Maryland Athletics/University of Maryland Athletics)

Maryland’s innovative new football field — billed as the “coolest” synthetic turf field in the nation — carries a steep price tag.

The total cost of the project is just more than $3 million, according to Nate Pine, Maryland’s deputy athletics director — nearly three times as much as standard synthetic playing fields. Of that total, however, roughly $1 million covered the installation of a stormwater-management facility that complies with state regulations.

The project, which coincides with the university’s decision to drop eight varsity teams to address a multimillion-dollar deficit in athletics, is being funded by private donations. The university has declined to identify the source of the gift.

“The turf is an important departmental initiative that some of our supporters have felt compelled to invest in for a number of reasons [revenue generation, school image, brand etc.], and directed their financial support accordingly,” Pine wrote in an e-mail exchange on Tuesday.

Among the field’s notable features: A wildly colorful pattern in each end zone that evokes the design of Maryland’s state flag and a heat-reducing technology known as “CoolPlay” that reportedly can lower on-field temperatures by 15 degrees.

Maryland officials hope that its eye-catching design and pioneering technology will raise the football team’s profile and strengthen the Maryland brand. Ideally, the new field will help generate more revenue for the financially challenged department by luring high school all-star games and other events to Byrd Stadium.

Maryland fans will get a first look at the new field, which is being installed this summer, when the team stages a free public scrimmage on Aug. 18 at 3 p.m.

Dunbar alum added

In other news, Terrapins Coach Randy Edsall said Maryland had signed former Dunbar standout Daniel Adams, who played for offensive coordinator Mike Locksley at New Mexico. As a transfer, the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Adams won’t be eligible to compete this season. He’s scheduled to undergo foot surgery Friday and is expected to miss 10 weeks.

Edsall said he envisions Adams as an H-back rather than wide receiver, which he played at Dunbar.

“He has tremendous speed,” Edsall said. “And he has the frame to stretch the field vertically.”

Tate is on the mend

Linebacker Kenny Tate, who played in four games before suffering a knee injury last season, is recovering well from surgery, Edsall said, and should be able to take part in camp, although he may join one practice per day rather than two.

Tate, a first-team all-ACC pick as a junior safety in 2010, was on numerous watch lists for player of the year awards last season, when he was moved to linebacker. The DeMatha graduate was granted a medical redshirt season last year.

Edsall said all of the Terrapins who have been rehabbing this summer are progressing well and that he expected the full roster to be available for workouts on Aug. 6.

Maryland currently has 101 players on the roster. With 105 permitted to come to camp, Edsall said he’d love to add a few walk-ons and may add one or two more scholarship players.

Classroom numbers rise

Edsall said he was encouraged by the team’s improved performance in the classroom, reflected in the recent NCAA APR figures, which measure students’ progress toward a degree. The Terps’ single-year APR increased from a sub-par 905 to 972, and its four-year average improved from 922 to 931.

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