04/24/2008 12:30 PM ET
Los Angeles Dodgers announce stadium improvement plan to enhance the fan experience and position iconic stadium for next 50 years
LOS ANGELES -- In order to ensure the continued vitality of Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers today announced a multi-faceted stadium improvement plan that will bring the most modern amenities to Dodger fans while preserving the tradition of the historic venue, first opened in 1962. The improvements, anticipated to be completed by Opening Day of the 2012 season, are designed to protect Dodger Stadium's place as the home of Los Angeles baseball for the next 50 years.
Dodger Stadium is the second-oldest facility in the National League, and when Yankee Stadium is torn down after the 2008 season, the Dodgers will have the third-oldest venue in all of baseball. Because it was designed for a very different era, Dodger Stadium is currently bursting at the seams and unable to deliver many of the modern amenities and experiences that fans have come to enjoy and expect at ballparks around the country. The modern-day space requirements for technology, concessions, storage, and office space could not have been envisioned by architects five decades ago.
"We're creating a new stadium without tearing down the old," said Dodger owner Frank McCourt. "That may take more effort and more resources, but we're talking about Dodger Stadium. This stadium sits in the heart of Los Angeles and in the hearts of Angelenos. The Dodgers are a world class organization, a world class brand and a franchise with a history of courage and vision. What we're announcing today honors that history by protecting and modernizing Dodger Stadium and making sure that it lives on and thrives for the next 50 years."
"We are very pleased to see the Dodgers commit to remain at a 'new' Dodger Stadium," said Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "The plans to add trees, landscaping, attractions, and picnic areas will enhance the experience for families, and they will help usher in a whole new generation of baseball fans. We commend Frank and Jamie McCourt for their vision and their dedication to grow the game in the 21st Century."
The renowned architecture and planning firms of Johnson Fain and HKS lead an accomplished team of designers on this ambitious project that features the following components:
Dodger Way - A dramatic, new tree-lined entrance will lead to a beautifully landscaped grand plaza where fans can gather beyond center field. The plaza will connect to a modern, bustling promenade that features restaurants, shops and the Dodger Experience museum showcasing the history of the Dodgers in an interactive setting.
Green Necklace - The vibrant street setting of Dodger Way links to a beautiful perimeter around Dodger Stadium, enabling fans to walk around the park, outdoors yet inside the stadium gates. This Green Necklace will transform acres of parking lots into a landscaped outdoor walkway connecting the plaza and promenade to the rest of the ballpark.
Top of the Park - The Green Necklace connects to a large scale outdoor plaza featuring breathtaking 360 degree views spanning the downtown skyline and Santa Monica Bay, the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains, and the Dodger Stadium diamond.
This renewal plan comes on the heels of extensive stadium improvements since Frank and Jamie McCourt became stewards of the Dodgers in 2004. Past improvements include replacing nearly all of the seats in the stadium bowl; planting a new playing field and upgrading the warning track; renovating the concourses with updated concessions and other amenities; and reconfiguring stadium parking.
As a result of these extensive improvements, the stadium will become a destination for fans all year long and a place where, especially on game days, families can go early and stay late. Dodger Stadium will be a place to visit year-round to shop, dine and play.
"We hope to deliver all the modern amenities and conveniences of new ballparks, while protecting and preserving the greatest and most romantic venue in professional sports," said Dodger President Jamie McCourt. "Families will have a reason to come early and stay late any day of the year. Getting to the ballpark will be easier and spending time at the ballpark will be more comfortable and more fun."
As part of the ambitious stadium project, the Dodgers will "Think Blue and Act Green." The stadium will become as environmentally responsible a baseball stadium as there is in America. The Dodgers plans reflect the environmentally-sensitive practices supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council in their "Team Greening Program," a collaboration with Major League Baseball. The new facilities will be designed to meet silver "LEED" sustainability standards.
The renovations call for planting trees around the stadium and a focus on conserving water as well as promoting recycling and other environmental initiatives. The Dodgers will use the latest technologies to save millions of gallons of water each year. Recycling measures include post-consumer waste recycling, and recycling materials that will be removed throughout the building process. The Dodgers will use native or drought-resistant plants for landscaping and, where possible, energy efficient bulbs in all stadium and scoreboard lighting. Other environmental practices will include installing energy efficient appliances in all kitchen and concession facilities, and purchasing building materials and items used in concession kiosks that are made from recycled or quality, durable products.
The ambitious stadium improvement plan also addresses the need for operational enhancements including completing the concourse transformations, started this year with the Field Level Concourse, to include new restrooms, concession facilities and improved kitchen areas so food for fans and guests can be prepared in a fast and convenient manner. In addition to the new Dodger Experience museum, new buildings will include the ultimate Dodger retail store and a central ticketing facility for fans. Above these uses, there will be room for Dodger-related office space and work areas for onsite security personnel, Dodger operational staff and the Dodgers Dream Foundation. Parking improvements include two terraced parking structures on either side of the stadium that will replace existing surface parking, along with below-grade parking under the two new plazas.
"We commit to embodying the vision and spirit of this storied Dodger franchise," Frank McCourt said. "We're keeping this wonderful ballpark where it is, and providing more gathering places in the heart of Los Angeles. When completed in 2012, Dodger Stadium will continue to reflect the world class history and future of this storied franchise."
For Dodger fans interested in learning more about the stadium improvements, please visit the official Dodger website at dodgers.com