May 15, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sounds of construction continue to flood Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium, but in a matter of months, those noises will be replaced with the more familiar roaring crowd, shrilling whistles and smacking pads Maryland football fans have come to associate with their team.
As the Terrapins' 2009 season quickly approaches, the transformation of Byrd Stadium from construction site to premier football facility is nearing completion. With spring football now in rearview mirror and the start of preseason camp less than three months away, the renovation of the stadium's Tyser Tower remains on schedule to be done in time for the team's Sept. 12th home opener against James Madison.
Phase One of an ambitious renovation plan undertaken at Byrd called for the expansion of Tyser Tower along the south concourse to encompass 64 luxury suites, additional mezzanine seating and enhanced work areas for football staff and media, among other new amenities.
The expansion project adds 66,000 square feet to the existing structure, tripling the size of five-story tower. Highlights include a glass storefront appearance allowing for unobstructed views, a cable infrastructure to support more frequent high-definition broadcasts and other measures aimed to enhance spectator experience.
Construction commenced immediately following the conclusion of the 2007 season and has continued unabated the last 18 months. Crews worked throughout the 2008 calendar year, timing their efforts to avoid interfering with the football team's use of the stadium. Portions of the new Tyser Tower were erected on either side of the existing structure. Following the conclusion of Maryland's home football schedule in late November, workers demolished the existing structure and began the process of rebuilding the center portion of the tower.
Clark Construction of Bethesda, Md., serves as the general contractor for the Tyser Tower project. As the summer months loom, Clark and its subcontractors have nearly completed construction on the east and west portions of the revamped structure. Due to the necessary delay in beginning work on the middle portion of the tower, this segment of the structure will be the last part to be finalized.
"Thanks to a very dedicated group of people involved with the project, construction has progressed smoothly despite a very aggressive schedule, and we look forward to opening the facility on schedule for the first home football game this year," said Dave Jenkins, Clark Construction project executive.
Much like their stadium, which will have a capacity of 54,000, the Terps will have a dramatically different look in 2009.
Ninth-year head coach Ralph Friedgen and his coaching staff must replace 30 departed seniors from the 2008 team. They will seek major contributions from a host of talented, young players returning from a team which went 8-5 last season, including four wins over ranked opponents and a victory in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.