The Texas Rangers’ new stadium will have a retractable roof, but the baseball team wants fans to feel like they’re still outdoors.
That was the message on Thursday as the club executives and architects provided the first look at the working design for what will be called Globe Life Field, a $1.1 billion stadium expected to open for the 2020 baseball season.
The ballpark will be more intimate than the current Globe Life Park, with seating for about 41,000 instead of 50,000 and putting fans closer to the field. But one of the main goals is to allow for plenty of natural light, even when the retractable roof is closed to keep everyone cool.
“We wanted to make it feel like an open-air ballpark — not a retractable-roof ballpark,” said Bryan Trubey, executive vice president with HKS.
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A groundbreaking is scheduled for Thursday. Excavation will begin in early October.
With the exception of Globe Life Park, Trubey said every major league ballpark has been influenced in some fashion by Camden Yards in Baltimore. Globe Life Field’s architects want to have the same influence.
“We want to create the first next-generation ballpark,” Trubey said.
Plans call for Globe Life Park to remain standing and be repurposed, so Trubey said the new stadium’s architecture should complement — but not copy — the current ballpark.
Inside Globe Life Field, the roof should not dominate the design. The smaller seating capacity and less imposing roof will allow for a cozier feel.
“The upper deck is the chief beneficiary,” Trubey said.
Light baffles, which are often used in museums, will prevent sunlight from shining directly on ballplayers while fans in the seats can actually see direct light to help create that open-air feel.
“This was the biggest challenge on this project, to create a building that we knew the roof would be closed for baseball a significant amount of the time,” Trubey said. “That’s the comfort factor we’re after. That’s the predictability we’re after that makes this experience beautiful on a hot summer day. And we had to do it and still make it feel like an open air ballpark that’s one of the traditional characteristics of baseball.”
One other wrinkle: the roof will close over the infield first, allowing the most important part of the field to be covered in the event of a sudden downpour. In most ballparks, the roof closes over the outfield first, Trubey said.
Last November, Arlington voters approved the use of tax dollars to pay up to $500 million of the cost of the new stadium, after Arlington and the Rangers announced a deal in May 2016. The city will use revenue from a half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel-occupancy tax and 5 percent car-rental tax to fund its share, with the Rangers committed to pay any cost overruns.
Site work on the new ballpark, as well as construction on the Texas Live! bar and restaurant complex next door, is underway on what were formerly parking lots. The 200,000-square-foot Texas Live! is projected to open sometime next summer. A $150 million luxury Loews Hotel and convention center will be part of the project, slated to open in 2019.
The construction work has led to the closure of Nolan Ryan Expressway from south of Randol Mill Road to Cowboys Way. Most of Tundra Parking Lot B is also closed except for the northeast quadrant at the corner of Randol Mill and Stadium Drive.
Globe Life Field excavation will begin in the east portion of what was formerly Tundra Parking Lot B in early October. The new ballpark utility work that began in August also continues on the relocation of a sanitary sewer line in the area of what was Nolan Ryan Expressway.
Free tickets for Arlington residents
Capital One will offer Arlington residents up to four tickets to Thursday’s game against the Oakland A’s. The game will take place on the same day as the official groundbreaking for Globe Life Field.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The free tickets are first-come, first-served for certain sections.
For those who choose to claim the tickets online, a credit card is required to prove residency but will not be charged, team officials said.
Alternatively, tickets can be claimed in person by visiting the first base box office and showing proof of residency such as a valid driver license or utility bill.