Overhaulin' your stadium
If your looking for today’s lineup, its in the entry directly below this one.
On Monday the Royals Media Relations department along with Vice President of Ballpark Operations & Development Bob Rice and Owner’s Representative John Loyd took some of K.C.’s media on a hard-hat tour of the K. The renovations have kicked into almost full swing with the competition of the last home stand and the removal of seats.
Rice said the key to a 90-95 percent completion by Opening Day 2009 (tentatively April 10) is to turn over as much of the stadium as early as possible. So your Kauffman Stadium won’t ever look quite like this again. Changes are afoot and construction is happening fast (Around the Horn sat through an entire game without noticing another level of steel had been added to the top of the new Hall of Fame building in left field).
As we go through the tour keep in mind you can click on any photo to see a larger version. And you can click here for a computer animated tour which premiered a few weeks ago.
The tour started on the first base side of the stadium near the George Brett statue. This building which is going up directly in front of where the front doors to Kauffman used to is will house the Royals’ offices.
When it’s all finished, it should look like this computer generated mock-up. The sweeping lines of the roof are mimicked by the sweeping atrium of the building. The atrium by the way, will serve as a food court for the upper deck level.
Underneath the building, a new grand entrance will be created. And the Legacy Bricks which are for sale here, will be placed for all to see. These Bricks are tentatively planned for the grand entrance and the entrances on either side of the ballpark.
Around the Horn has heard some of the concerns about the constricted concourses, which have been made worse this season by the construction. If the figures are still true from what we heard earlier this season, that space will be expanded by 40 percent.
In this picture, you can see the plywood wall which marks the current end to the concourse. You can see the expansion of that space being built.
As you can see, the new concourses jut out from the stadium, but follow the contours of the original building. That has been a big push during this project. The developers wanted to preserve the original lines and look of the stadium but update the 1973 model to fit in the 21st century.
Again, in this picture, you can see the original pillars which mark the end of the current concourse and then you see the significant expansion.
On the ground level, this area is being prepped for new concession stands, which are being built directly behind the current concessions. When the season is over, the old concessions will be demolished and the space they occupy now will serve as the new expansion. You can see some of that toward the bottom.
There will also be new restrooms constructed behind the old ones.
The biggest portions of seats removed are these which seat above the crosswalk behind home plate. Six sections are being removed this season to allow construction workers to begin the Diamond Club.
The undertaking for building a new restaurant behind home plate is huge. The construction also means the Hall of Fame and all areas behind sections 105 to 106 will be offline for the remainder of the season.
These areas will be walled off so the Diamond Club can be completed in time for ’09. It will be a step above the Stadium Club and will be not quite as high as the Crown Club.
Here’s a picture of Bob Rice talking to some of the media who came out. In the left corner of the picture, you can see the steel framework of the new Royals Hall of Fame which is directly behind the visitor’s bullpen.
The two-story structure will house meeting rooms and offices in the bottom floor. The top floor will have a complete history of baseball in Kansas City with special tributes to the Kauffmans, George Brett and the 1985 team.
The Hall of Fame is just the first portion of the left field side of the outfield experience. On the left field side will also be a full-sized Little K, a carousel, video pitching and batting tunnels and much more.
The outfield experience will wrap completely around the stadium. Because of this, some seats in the last few sections left field have been removed to allow for the extension of the crosswalk into the outfield and Gate C has been closed until 2009.
In right field, the construction has been just as vigorous, but not as visible. The original field access tunnel wrapped around behind the scoreboard. That wouldn’t flow with the plans, so a new one needed to be excavated and the built.
With it complete now, skeletons of buildings are bound to start popping up in right field.
And for those chowing down in right field, a hi-def video board will keep them in tune with the action on the field.
The outfield experience is a major part of what’s changing, but Bob Rice insists each Royals fan will notice the differences. And Around the Horn is sure you will… if you haven’t already.