- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The University of Maryland’s ongoing effort to upgrade its football and basketball facilities is being expanded to other sports and programs, including soccer, golf and track and field, officials announced Wednesday.

Maryland outlined plans for $25 million worth of facility improvements, funded through private donations, for sports programs that will benefit 20 varsity teams.

The athletic department introduced the “Building Champions” campaign Wednesday by rolling out a website spelling out its goals with artist renderings of the facilities and remarks from every head coach affected.

“We are investing in facilities that will impact hundreds of student-athletes, enhancing their experience athletically, academically and socially,” athletic director Damon Evans said in a press release.

The top tasks include opening a new soccer stadium, renovating the stadium housing women’s lacrosse and field hockey and building player development centers for the baseball, softball and golf programs. The track and field stadium will also receive a $9 million face-lift, the single-highest price tag mentioned.

“Building Champions” arrives three months after Maryland announced a $36 million campaign to build a performance facility for the men’s and women’s basketball teams to hold practice and workouts. The university is still finishing its largest facility project, the renovation of Cole Field House into an indoor football practice facility.

Thus, Maryland will have three facility-improvement campaigns running at the same time.

Early stages of the Cole Field House project have been completed, but as of October only $60 million of the goal of $210 million had been raised. The basketball project had raised $19 million from private donors when it was unveiled that same month. (Asked for updated fundraising figures for the football and basketball campaigns, an athletic department spokesperson did not respond by press time.)

The field hockey and lacrosse stadium will cost a projected $4 million, according to the athletic department. The baseball and softball programs will have indoor hitting and pitching facilities of their own, while the golf program looks to add indoor/outdoor hitting bays.

Fans of other Big Ten programs have knocked Maryland and Rutgers for their lack of major success in revenue sports since the conference added them to expand from 12 to 14 teams in 2014. But other Terrapins teams have performed well in the Big Ten. Women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer have combined for five national titles since 2014, and Maryland has won 32 regular-season or postseason Big Ten titles in that time.

Respect for those programs pervaded the campaign’s rollout. 

“For the past 25+ years, I’ve been on a mission to build a soccer stadium worthy of the excellence our soccer programs represent,” men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski wrote on Twitter, promising it would be “another level” over the current Ludwig Field.

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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