PRESS RELEASE – The Richmond Flying Squirrels have released conceptual renderings of what a proposed regional ballpark on the Boulevard could resemble. Created by Populous, an international design firm specializing in sports architecture, the depicted ballpark reflects a “Richmondesque” design with brick exterior, a grass berm for outfield seating, a children’s play area and fixed seating for as many as 6,000 fans. With the outfield seating, total capacity would be approximately 9,000.
As illustrated, the ballpark is located on the Boulevard, just south of The Diamond’s current site. This design not only has a distinctive Richmond flavor to it, but it also has an array of amenities and features that are consistent with today’s modern ballparks.
Fans can find the renderings on the Ballpark Nutz Facebook fan page at: http://www.facebook.com/ballparknutz.
How will a new ballpark improve the experience of going to games for fans and families?
The experience will be improved for all spectators—from baseball fans to families. The ballpark will offer greater comfort and conveniences. And, it will also allow the Flying Squirrels to increase the “funn” they have already brought to the game-going enjoyment, compared to our previous teams. Now, the Squirrels are limited in the entertainment experience they can deliver by the inherent challenges of The Diamond’s design.
The new ballpark will be a modern 21st century Minor League Baseball park, designed to encourage social interaction among fans and families. It will be more comfortable, congenial and neighborly with a style similar to virtually every ballpark built since The Diamond opened in 1985. Plus, the creative flair only the Flying Squirrels can provide.
Brick, not concrete, will be the dominant feature, reflecting the architectural heritage of Richmond. As the newest minor league ballpark, it will include the most popular design features and amenities found in modern ballparks.
Fans will walk from their cars directly to the entrance and enter at ground level, and then walk down a few steps to their seats. The seats farthest from the field will be much closer to the action than most distant seats at The Diamond. This will create a more intimate setting to watch the game and entertainment before the game, between innings and afterward by bringing fans closer to the field. There will be seating for about 6,500 fans in this lower “bowl.”
A wide 360-degree concourse will encircle the playing field encouraging fans to mingle by enabling them to walk around it easily while still being able to watch the game and the Squirrels’ brand of funn between innings. The exterior concourse will be wide enough to accommodate large and small picnic groups, including more portable concession stands and shelters from rain, all with a view of the field. The Diamond has one picnic area with a capacity of about 250 and no view of the field.
A sloping berm in the outfield will allow families to sit on the grass picnic-style and watch the game from that perspective. There even will be a home plate-shaped shallow water feature in centerfield—Nutzy’s fountain.
The Club level inside the grandstand structure will offer climate-controlled access to approximately 20 suites, an increase from 15 at The Diamond, including two larger suites for rent by the game. The Diamond has two small rental suites.
The exterior concourse, picnic areas, berm and the Club level will increase the ballpark’s capacity by about 2,000, bringing the total to about 8,500.
Both interior concourse levels will be much wider than The Diamond’s and free of large support columns, making access and movement easier. The atmosphere will be brighter and more pleasant.
The new ballpark will accommodate double the number of concession stands—from 25 to 50—all with a view of the playing field. There will be an appropriate number of modern family restrooms and a playground.
The scoreboard will be a gigantic entertainment/information center with a state-of-the-art video centerpiece to show live shots from around the ballpark, instant replays, fun video clips and enhanced graphics. It will include a display with the speed of pitches, but also showing the type of pitch—curve, change-up, etc.
Parking convenience will be improved and capacity increased. After The Diamond is demolished, there will be about 2,700 parking spaces on site. The Diamond now has about 2,100 spaces. Fans will be able to walk directly from their cars into the front entrance of the ballpark instead of having to walk around it—or cross major thoroughfares.
The ballpark will be 100% ADA-compliant—specifically designed to accommodate physically challenged, seniors, baby strollers, and children.
It will be built for baseball games—for the Squirrels, VCU, some high school games and possibly NCAA tournaments. But it also will host about a dozen entertainment events a year.
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