The upgrades for 2012 include a complete renovation of Vandergriff Plaza and much of the office building first floor in centerfield with the construction of a new Batter's Eye Club, Restaurant/Sports Bar, Kid's Zone, and concession stands. In addition, the areas that previously contained the bleacher seating will be remodeled and the visitors bullpen will be reconfigured.
Demolition in Vandergriff Plaza began this week. The Ballpark upgrades are expected to be completed by opening day, which is Friday, April 6.
"We have a commitment to our fans to provide the finest ballpark experience," commented CEO and President Nolan Ryan. "The upgrades we are making in the Vandergriff Plaza area will add more food/beverage and entertainment options while also providing ways to cool off in the summer months. This project represents the most extensive renovation in the history of the park and we plan to make further upgrades in the coming years."
The entire project, which is estimated to cost approximately 11.5 million dollars, will encompass more than 55,000 square feet in Vandergriff Plaza and the office building first floor.
A summary of the 2012 Rangers Ballpark in Arlington upgrades:
BATTER'S EYE CLUB: A new indoor seating area will be built at the top of Greene's Hill in centerfield to replace the "batter's eye" structure that has been in place since the opening of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 1994. The Batter's Eye Club will feature four rows with seating for approximately 100 that provides a spectacular view of the playing field through two-way glass, which will be totally dark on the field side. The 6,250 square foot climate-controlled club will feature its own buffet, bar, dining area and rest rooms. The Batter's Eye Club will be utilized for both group rentals and as an individual seating area for select games.
RESTAURANT/SPORTS BAR: Another new addition will be a Rangers-themed restaurant/sports bar, which will be constructed in the first floor area of the office building behind the left-center field seats. The two-level facility containing 9,152 square feet will overlook the playing field. The climate-controlled restaurant/sports bar will be open to the public before, during, and after Rangers home games and is expected to be available for rental when the club is on the road and in the off-season. Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Radio are expected to have studio space in this area. The facility will be operated by the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington concessionaire, Sportservice.
KID'S ZONE: A new play area for children will be built in the first floor area of the office building closest to centerfield. The 6,470 square foot Kid's Zone will house a number of interactive games and attractions and will operate in a similar manner to the former Vandergriff Plaza Sports Park. This facility will be open during all Rangers home games and also be available for rental at other times.
A NEW VANDERGRIFF PLAZA: The area that previously housed the Children's Sports Park will be completely rebuilt and will include four new full service concession stands as well as seating clusters. A large video board will be mounted on the back of the Batter's Eye Club to provide viewing of the game action from this location. This area encompasses nearly 12,000 square feet. One feature that will remain in Vandergriff Plaza is the life size bronze statues of Nolan Ryan and the late Tom Vandergriff, for whom the plaza is named.
SEATING AREAS/DECKS: The aluminum bleacher seats on the left and right field sides of Greene's Hill will be replaced by individual ballpark seats. The capacity of this new area, which will be called the Outfield Plaza, will be 424, a decrease of 1,075 from the previous bleacher seating. Covered deck areas with open seating and tables will be built above the seating areas on both the left and right field sides of the Batter's Eye Club.
VISITORS BULLPEN: The visitors bullpen will be reconfigured to run parallel to the left center fence in the same orientation as the Rangers bullpen, occupying an area that was previously bleacher seating. For the first time, a majority of the seating bowl will have a view into the visitors bullpen.
WIDER CONCOURSE: The concourse leading from behind section 3 into Vandergriff Plaza (walkway currently behind the visitors bullpen) will be widened to provide a more efficient traffic flow.
The architect of record for the project is Sterling Barnett Little of Arlington. Dallas-based Manhattan Construction, which built both Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and Cowboys Stadium, is the General Contractor.
The Vandergriff Plaza project represents the first major structural renovation at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since the Cuervo Club was added behind the home plate section of the lower seating bowl in 2000.