The coming week represents another significant milestone in the ongoing design and development of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark. The Hennepin County Board will meet Tuesday and are expected to approve the ballpark?s conceptual design and overall program. With that approval in hand, team and county staff can charge forward in finalizing schematic design which will be up for County Board approval sometime in February.
So what exactly is the Hennepin County Board approving this week?
They are not approving the final ballpark design, look or feel. Instead, they are expected to approve the initial ballpark design concept and program. They will be looking at how the ballpark fits on the site, how it takes advantage of transit connections and how it relates to the neighborhood and downtown Minneapolis. All of those things are critical to the long-term success of the ballpark and overall fan experience.
In addition to the elements outlined above, the County Board will also be providing sign-off on the preliminary ballpark program. For those of you not familiar with the building process, the term ?program? refers to the general ballpark details such as total square footage, number of seats, proposed fan amenities, etc. The Twins front office has been immersed in those details for the past several months. With several ballparks and arenas such as St. Paul?s Xcel Energy Center providing the inspiration, the Twins ballpark program is nearly complete. Here is a look at how some of the key aspects of the Twins ballpark program stack up against the Metrodome and other recently built ballparks:
NEW PARK METRODOME PNC PARK AT&T PARK
Minneapolis Minneapolis Pittsburgh SF
Approximate Capacity 42,000 54,734 38,000 40,500
Gross Square Footage 1 Million 1.2 Million 946,000 967,000
Seating in Lower Bowl 20,470 22,289 23,071 21,082
Seating in Upper Bowl 10,250 32,445 11,174 13,262
Main Concourse 38? to 67? 22? 40? to 60? 28?
Upper Concourse 27? to 49? 22? 22? to 27? 25?
Total Fixtures 667 480 494 333
Women?s Fixtures 401 256 262 182
Men?s Fixtures 266 32/192 232 151
Retail Stores 3 0 2 3
Playing Field Dimensions
First seat to home 45? 46? 52? 46?
LF 339? 343? 320? 308?
LF Power Alley 377? 385? 375? 380?
CF 404? 408? 378? 399?
RF Power Alley 370? 367? 389? 366?
RF 328? 327? 325? 340?
In the weeks and months to come, the details outlined above and much, much more will be finalized as the ballpark design begins to take shape. What?s clear is that Twins-Hennepin County Ballpark will be among the most compact, intimate parks in all of baseball. Now our challenge is to ensure that the facility is equally fan friendly.
Dave St. Peter
New Ballpark Idea of the Week — 1. Foul poles light up green or red depending on a ball near it being fair or foul. Only sense balls going out so fans don’t set it off. 2. Use steam or cold water to moderate the temperature in the stands. 3. Add ball movement/location information to the pitch velocity display. ? Glen of Bloomington.