Omaha ballpark design unveiled

The new image of the apex of college baseball was unveiled at today’s groundbreaking ceremony for Omaha Baseball Stadium. The City of Omaha, the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA), and NCAA officials unveiled the design of the Omaha Baseball Stadium as the city’s newest downtown attraction.

“The Omaha Baseball Stadium will strengthen Omaha’s reputation as one of the largest sports communities in America and create a dynamic new gateway to our city,” said Omaha’s Mayor Mike Fahey at the groundbreaking ceremony.

The ballpark was designed to fit the context of the downtown entertainment district. The building is mainly made of metal, brick and glass and is characterized by a unique combination of brick and translucent glass. The glass creates a playful atmosphere – at night the glass glows and creates a street ambience. During the day, visitors approaching the stadium can see the activity inside. A metal roof on the baseball stadium’s seat shell provides shade and a modern architectural element for the structure of the baseball stadium.

“Getting to Omaha is a huge thrill for baseball players and fans, and that’s what brought us to creating a picture of success,” said Martin DiNitto, principal at HOK Sport, the design architect of the ballpark. “The modern expression of the ballpark, coupled with a ballpark adventure bar, will continue to make Omaha an unforgettable travel destination.”

In addition to being home to the NCAA College World Series for the next 25 years, the baseball field is home to a variety of year-round sports and entertainment, including professional and college baseball, outdoor concerts, and special events.

Under the leadership of HDR Architecture, Inc. from Omaha as architects and engineers, the team also includes nationally recognized baseball designers HOK Sport as design architect and DLR Group as associate architect.

HDR brings an intimate knowledge of the Omaha landscape that has been an integral part of Omaha architecture for more than 90 years. The DLR group has designed 40 stadiums and HOK Sport 150 stadiums across the country.

The design team worked with the ballpark owner, MECA, and its Design Advisory Committee to complete the final design of the ballpark. MECA will be responsible for the construction and operation of the new ballpark on behalf of the City of Omaha. MECA currently operates the Qwest Center Omaha, one of the most successful arena and convention facilities in the country. The main goals of the project were to improve the student-athlete experience, fan experience, and community, said Bruce Carpenter, HDR project leader. “This is a great project for the community to continue its legacy as the home of the College World Series – and by creating this vibrant new environment, it will be a place where dreams are realized and memories are born,” he said.

The $ 128 million baseball field will include:

· 24,000 seats with increased seat width and profile depth for more comfort

· 26 luxury suites

1,000 club seats

· Four entrances at each corner of the site, each with a unique destination

· More concession and toilet areas to get fans back to the action faster

· An open, all-round, wide 360-degree hall

· A big fan festival

· Media totems along the outfield celebrate the achievements of each of the eight teams

· A retail area overlooking the bullpen and the field

· Team clubhouses

· Exercise facilities and administrative offices.

The baseball stadium is due to open in spring 2011.

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