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Low profile, high appeal

November 17, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - A newly designed expansion of the Shepherd College Ram Stadium which has a lower profile than a first proposal was presented to the public Monday night.

And so far, it is getting favorable reactions.

The new bleachers on the west side of the football field have a curved shape and are not as tall as a seating section that was discussed in September.

Although it is not known how much lower the new seating section will be, it was enough to calm citizen concerns that larger seats would block views in town and hurt esthetics.

"It's much better visually," Shepherdstown resident Rebecca Aronson said.

Although Jerry Zimmerman said a sketch of the expansion was a "really nice rendering," he is concerned that the newly configured stadium might cost more than originally planned.

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Project architect Gregory A. Williamson said that is possible. Project officials still have to decide where to put a locker facility, which could affect the cost.

But even that didn't worry residents.

Given the fact that the school has come up with such an attractive stadium plan, town residents should donate money to help build it if the project comes in over bid, said Mary Ann Zimmerman, president of the Greater Shepherdstown Association.

"Everybody needs to pitch in and help," Zimmerman said.

Residents and school officials crowded into a meeting room at McMurran Hall to hear Williamson's latest proposal for the stadium.

Now the proposal will go back to a stadium committee to consider such final details as placement of the locker facility, said Shepherd College President David Dunlop.

Project organizers are still planning to start construction after the worst winter weather is over and try to have it finished by next year's football season.

Officials want to increase the stadium's seating capacity from its current 2,500 to as much as 5,000. The new design would allow for about 4,000 seats, compared to some 5,000 with the previous one, Dunlop said.

Del. John Doyle, who pushed for a $1.25 million allocation from the state for the project, called the current stadium a "disgrace" because it doesn't have enough seats for games and there is no running water for toilets.

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