Thursday, January 5, 2012
Construction on pace for March 20 finish
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Construction at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is on schedule for a March 20 completion, said Wesley Weaver, a senior project manager at Dallas-based Manhattan Construction.
Two crews have been working 10-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to about midnight for six days a week since construction began in late October. They'll go to seven days if they must in order to complete the job a few weeks prior to Opening Day.
"We're right on schedule and we'll finish it in time," Weaver said. "We have to."
The March 20 date is so that the Rangers have time to get furniture and fixtures in the new structures and get folks trained before fans start arriving for an exhibition game, Tuesday, April 3. The club offered some media members a tour of the construction today and it was neat to see how much progress they've made. A few thoughts:
* One thing I hadn't considered having such a huge impact was increasing the size of the entrance into the center field area. Instead of that narrow hall, a large opening has been constructed and the sections in the outfield now link. You can walk around the entire area out there. What a difference.
* The bullpen configuration looks better. The visitor's bullpen is now oriented along the left-center wall, so fans and the dugouts can better see them. There is an area right above it where you can stand and see pitchers warm up. During the playoffs, that could be a place where the club sells standing-room only tickets.
* The Batter's Eye Club was coming together and we could see the height of it and get an idea for how the backside will look. Why is that important? That's where fans that aren't in that club can congregate during games. The good news: It's going to have a large video screen, so even if you can't see the field from there, you can watch the action.
* There's a ton more indoor space for fans now. The Kids Zone takes up about 6,470 square feet. It's just an empty space right now with the restaurant/sports bar beside it. That's a two-level structure with a bar on the bottom floor and seating on top.
* Four new concessions stands are also being built out in the Vandergriff Plaza. They'll also be some outdoor eating areas for fans that include shade (won't that be nice).
* Because of construction, Greene's Hill isn't exactly green right now. It's all dirt. But sod will be planted again once the construction is completed.
* A new bleacher area is being worked on that will include individual seats. So that's going to drop the capacity of the stadium in that area, but it should make fans more comfortable.
* Nolan Ryan's statue has been removed and put in storage while the construction is ongoing. It will be placed in the middle of Vandergriff Plaza when things are finished.
* It's still about halfway done, but you can tell it's going to be a nice change out there.
NOTE: I've tweeted some pictures and will put some more on twitter later today. http://twitter.com/#!/espn_durrettto see them.