LETHBRIDGE – The day before the first event at newly-renovated Spitz Stadium, crews were busy putting on the finishing touches as reporters were given a tour Thursday, June 7.
The second and final phase of the renovation, which began when the baseball season ended in 2017, adds $2.3 million in improvements, primarily with the addition of an upper concourse. Phase one had included washrooms, concession/pro shop, umpire change facilities, and a first aid room at a cost of $2.9 million.
“The upper level was sort of the key to the whole design we went after,” project manager Ric Johnston said. “Most significant stadiums have a top-down loading capacity, where we were a bottom-up, so you had to come across the bottom and then find the staircase that you were going to go up, and then go to your seat. In converting to top-down mode, (is) what gave us the ability to provide that upper-level area.
“So, all the services are available up there, and with washrooms and concession, and as well, you just got a lot better viewing from up at that level which was never able before.”
There is a larger press box, more accommodation for people with disabilities, and an elevator to the new concourse. However, the elevator won’t be functional until after its final inspection June 18. Johnston said some concessions may not be available for the Bulls’ home opener Friday, June 8, and there is still fit and finish work to be completed.
Johnston said the process included visiting other stadiums in similar markets, to see what could and couldn’t be done.
“I think the fans will really enjoy the new addition, and that was really a big part of the whole exercise here, is so that when they can have a better experience when coming into the park, and just, from seating to availability of concession space, and just to build the excitement when they come in, that was the primary goal right off the bat,” he said.
Kevin Kvame, the Bulls’ president and general manager, said it’ll be like having a new facility.
“When you come to a ball game, it’s not just about the ball game. It’s about visiting with friends, and having some refreshments and some food and a fun, enjoyable time,” Kvame said. “This is going to give them a lot more space in the stadium, a lot more viewpoints in the stadium, better concessions, better washrooms, all the things that were identified 10 years ago when we did a customer satisfaction survey that started this whole process when Spitz came on board as title sponsor of the stadium.”
Kvame added the players are excited too.
“They just see the excitement that it brings to the community, which then generates to them on the field.”
Once the work is completed, Kvame hopes it will mean more events, including concerts, at the venue. Spitz Stadium will host a wrestling event as part of Canada Day festivities.
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