The structure, new, panoramic views, state-of-the-art amenities, hardly is just a roof and the walls beneath it.
Sometimes, a building takes on life.
When it’s more central nervous system of a diverse, expansive collection of people than mere concrete and glass.
When it becomes a veritable organic extension, the very cortex, of so much more than a place to put on football pads and prepare for practices or games.
The University of Maryland has just unveiled such a structure; its gleaming new, $150 million Jones-Hill House – some seven years in rising from architectural blueprints into the lifeblood of Maryland football.
Or, as Terps coach Mike Locksley sees things, the neighborhood home for a football family with members from 19 different states as well as nearby District of Columbia.
“It's really important to have this space, especially for all the things we'e been through here at Maryland,” Locksley told FootballScoop. “The year before I got here, we had the tragic death of our teammate Jordan McNair and then we've all had deal with the (COVID-19) pandemic.
“At the end of spring meetings, I can tell you each kid felt like the culture shift has taken place. Now, the brotherhood and camaraderies is what we need. Now with the opening of this player-centric building, when you're raising kids, the house in the neighborhood that has all the gadgets video games, all that, is where the kids usually congregate. As a parent, you want that to be your house so you know what kids are doing and so they can spend time at your house. I just thought it was really important to add the things that allow players to spend time around here that they're not required to spend. There's a bond formed from time spent outside just meeting about football. And everything in the building is centered around the locker room, which is to me the kitchen table.”
The Jones-Hill House, named for Maryland men's basketball trailblazer Billy Jones and football counterpart Darryl Hill, who helped break the color-barrier in collegiate sports south of the Mason-Dixon Line, is Maryland's gleaming foray into the intercollegiate facilities space-race.
Locksley looks at this building more as a vehicle; his goal at Maryland is to ensure that this center becomes a transformative conduit for the Terps’ success— most importantly in life, beyond the expected benefits on the football field.
“I think if you see it, you believe you can achieve it,” said Locksley, a Washington, D.C., native, who has infused the Terps' base with hope after logging wins against Minnesota and a shellacking of Penn State last fall. “Obviously, the investment made in building this Jones-Hill House you can see. It's something players can actually touch and see what it's like to have a place like this where somebody invested in you.
“I think for our players who come from underserved and marginalized areas, to have the ability to come in here and utilize this facility every day, it helps create opportunities to be the best version of themselves. Now they can see it and now the goal is to go achieve that type of excellence.”
Maryland's new football mainframe includes a barber shop, recording studio, a perhaps-unparalleled weight room – replete with the latest perch video technology that allows strength staff to monitor form, reps, measure speed and more – as well as an top-of-the-line new locker room with more than 120 individual lockers featuring drying vents for gear, wireless charging stations and secure space for personal belongings.
What it represents, Locksley explains, is what Maryland football always has meant to the 2018 Broyles Award winner as college football's top assistant coach: teeming potential.
“It's almost like a rebirth, in that this is not your mama's old Maryland,” Locksley said. “This is a program that everybody says has so much potential, and we've had pockets of success here. But I think this building allows us to rebrand Maryland football from a standpoint of a program that wants to be great and be a major player in college football.
“This is the flagship university. The people that support Maryland thought it was important to make this type of investment. I couldn't be more proud of the name of the building, to put two trailblazing pioneers, two black trailblazers, on it.
“There's a lot of pride that goes into this for me, being from here and walking into a place where two former Terps opened up the doors for me to ever even be able to be the coach here. Just seeing it all come to fruition.”