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McDaniel College breaks ground for new stadium

February 03, 2012

McDaniel College broke ground Feb. 3 on an $8-million stadium project to be named for trustee and alumnus Kenneth R. Gill ’61 and designed by architect Marshall Craft Associates of Baltimore.

Construction is set to begin in February 2012 with a targeted completion date for the first home football game on Sept. 15, 2012.

The two-story, brick-and-concrete, multipurpose stadium honors Gill in recognition of his generosity and leadership of the stadium’s fundraising effort. A member of the Green Terror football team all four years he attended the college, Gill made gifts totaling $2.25 million toward the project and served as chair of the Stadium Project Committee, which raised more than $7.7 million in cash and pledges through perseverance and connections with classmates.

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“Wherever my  life has taken me, no place feels as close to my heart as this college,” Gill said during the ceremony featuring a 90-year-old shovel, first used in 1922 at the groundbreaking of McDaniel Hall, in its 14th such groundbreaking event. “Whether you call it Western Maryland College, McDaniel College, or simply the Hill, I have benefitted from the lessons learned from the faculty, the coaches, my classmates. Today I feel grateful to be able to give back to them, and hope to inspire you to do the same down the road in your future.”

The stadium will retain its hallmark bowl seating and tradition of drive-in tailgating while increasing seating capacity by about 500. Seats will total about 1,434, including accessible seats.

The facility will be built on the site of the current grandstand. Features include concessions, public restrooms, coaches’ rooms, observation boxes, a large press box, a training room, filming areas, home- and visiting-team meeting rooms and reception and gathering rooms. New field lighting was installed in 2010 in preparation of the new stadium and was funded by the Yingling family.

“Generations of students and Green Terror fans will be the beneficiaries of your generosity,” McDaniel Board chair Martin K.P. Hill said in thanking Gill during the groundbreaking. “In recognition of our gratitude, Ken’s name will forever preside over what is known as one of the best college stadiums for tailgating and championship teams in the country.”

Also included in the project is a new entrance and roadway on West Main Street and an accessible pedestrian walkway linking the landmark caboose with the stadium facility.
Funding for the stadium project, which was outlined in the campus master plan, is solely funded through charitable gifts and not drawn from the college’s operating budget.

Athletics have long been an integral part of McDaniel’s internationally recognized educational experience.

“McDaniel’s dynamic athletic program enriches the college’s living-learning community. The new stadium will help support the college’s student-athletes, its coaches, and spectators by providing an improved game-day experience,” said McDaniel President Roger Casey. “We are thankful for the generosity of Ken Gill and the over 100 individuals and businesses that have contributed so far to the project. We look forward to raising even more funds to strengthen our athletic programs.

“We have raised $7.7 million in gifts and pledges and have received $6 million in cash, which has allowed us to break ground on this important project. Funds are still actively being raised for parts of the project.”

Read more about the Stadium Project.