Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has introduced legislation into the Maryland General Assembly that would allow the University of Maryland to use some $15 million in state revenue bonds to add 20,000 permanent seats to Byrd Stadium and make improvements to Cole Field House, as well as other athletic facilities.
If approved by the legislature, the bonds would enable the university to undertake the renovations earlier than otherwise possible. The first $5 million would be available in July, said Charles F. Sturtz, Maryland's vice chancellor for administrative affairs who was acting athletic director in 1986.
The bill is in the first stages, currently in the Senate's Budget and Tax Committee. It will have to be approved by the committee before a vote on the full Senate floor can be taken. The House of Delegates then would have to take action on the bill, and if no amendments were added, could then send the bill to the full Assembly.
Maryland Athletic Director Lew Perkins, in Naples, Fla., for Atlantic Coast Conference meetings, said late yesterday afternoon that it would be "premature" to discuss the possiblity of the bill's ultimate passage by the legislature.
Sturtz and Maryland Chancellor John B. Slaughter said the university had not directly prodded Miller, a Maryland alumnus, but that the impetus to introduce the bill had come from members of the Terrapin Club, a booster association of more than 3,800 members that last year gave $2.6 million to the university.
Perkins said it was not yet time to discuss specifics, "but certainly it would be a major improvement for the facilities. I don't want to be too excited, even verbally, because it has so far to go. But we want to get in line with the other ACC schools and with the other schools we compete with."
Sturtz estimated the projects, including the stadium, would cost $35 million to $40 million overall.
Under state law, the athletic program must be self-supporting and thus cannot use regular capital funds provided by the state.
Miller's bill would give the athletic program $5 million worth of revenue bonds outright in fiscal 1989. It would furnish an additional $10 million in bonds, provided the athletic program matched that sum by June 1990. Sturtz said the school would not be ready to begin stadium work for about two years.