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Renovations pitched for Blair Field

Blair Field rendering

Long Beach State is looking at an ambitious renovation of historic Blair Field that would include expanded fan facilities, a second-level concourse with expanded press facilities and suites, and a new practice field.

The plan, outlined by HKS and presented to university officials this week, is expected to cost between $8 million and $12 million.

There’s no doubt the Long Beach State Dirtbags now represent an elite NCAA baseball program, with the likes of Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki and Jered Weaver among the distinguished alumni. Blair Field, once among the best college ballparks, has slipped a little in recent years, and the plan from Long Beach State is aimed to keep the Dirtbags current in the rapidly changing world of college baseball facilities.

Technically, Blair Field belongs to the city and leased to Long Beach State annually for $1, but the city isn’t expected to put any money into the renovations. The money will come from fans and the school.

The work is slated for several stages. The first stage scraps a party area down the left-field line and replaces it with a practice diamond. A new batting tunnel and bullpens will be installed down the left-field line. New lighting is on the docket at well.

The second stage includes a two-story clubhouse and concession space, as well as a party deck on the building’s second story, more bathrooms and expanded dugouts.

The final phase is where the fan amenities and higher costs come in. First, a new structure basically will be installed behind the current grandstand. The structure will allow for a second-level concourse and a large club area, along with six suites, more concessions and new ticket offices.

Blair Field has an interesting history. Besides serving as the home of the Dirtbags, the ballpark has housed major-league exhibitions and was once a practice field for the Los Angeles Rams. It opened in 1958.

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