Texas Rangers launch $11.5 million ballpark renovation

11/03/2011 11:45 PM

03/24/2013 1:08 AM

ARLINGTON -- The Texas Rangers on Thursday unveiled plans for an $11.5 million ballpark renovation that includes a center-field club, two-level sports bar and restaurant and new children's play area.

The renovations, which CEO Nolan Ryan said in a release would be "the most extensive renovation in the history of the park," should be complete in time for the Rangers' home opener April 6 against the Chicago White Sox.

The Rangers emphasized the air-conditioned aspect of the improvements, mentioning that several times during an afternoon news conference at the ballpark.

"Rather than have your kids out in the 100-degree heat, you provide an environment inside," Rick George, the Rangers' chief operating officer, said. "Hopefully, this will bring more people out to the ballpark."

The improvements:

Batter's Eye Club: 6,250 square feet, air-conditioned, indoor seating area at the top of Greene's Hill in center field, taking in part of what's now Vandergriff Plaza. The club will include seating for 100 and be rented during games for groups and, for selected games, individuals. The Batter's Eye will have a full glass wall facing the field, and has already been rented out for Opening Day, the Rangers said. Pricing plans are still being completed, George said. Rental will be available for 100 percent of the facility only. If available for individual tickets, there will likely be an all-you-can-eat price or access to food and beverage service.

Rangers-themed restaurant and sports bar: 9,152 square feet, two levels, air-conditioned, to be built in left-center field on the largely vacant first floor of the office building. Will be open before, during and after home games and likely for rental when the Rangers are on the road. Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Radio will have studio space in the restaurant. The Rangers concessionaire, Sportsservice, will run the food and beverage at this venue and the Batter's Eye.

Kid's Zone: 6,470 square-feet, air-conditioned, straightaway center field on the first floor of the office building. Will include interactive games and other attractions and operate similarly to the former Vandergriff Plaza Sports Park, the Rangers said.

New Vandergriff Plaza: 12,000-square-foot area that housed the former children's zone in back of Greene's Field will be rebuilt to include new concessions and a large video board on the back of the Batter's Eye.

Aluminum bleacher seats on the right and left sides of Greene's Hill will be replaced with standard ballpark seating. Capacity will be 424, down 1,075 seats from the previous bleacher seating, the Rangers said.

The visitor's bullpen will run parallel to the left center-field wall, instead of perpendicular to it, as it is now.

The concourse leading from behind Section 3 into Vandergriff Plaza -- the walkway behind the visitor's bullpen -- will be widened for better traffic flow.

Scott Nishimura

817-390-7808

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