Renovations to Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) are underway as the team preps for a busy 2014.
The improvements were approved months ago, but the end of the season saw the beginning of work. Locals have been watching plenty of action on the field, with a new turf and drainage system in the midst of being installed. GM Mike Birling told WRAL that renovations to the ballpark were long overdue:
“We started talking about, if we are going to keep spending all this money on things the fans aren’t going to see, we are going on our 18th season at the ballpark, let’s see if we can work out a situation where we can work out a longer lease,” Birling said. “The city didn’t want to be in the business of maintaining a ballpark. We said, ‘OK, we will take that all over but let’s focus on trying to find a way that this stadium can be built up for the next 18 to 20 years to where people come in here and still say this is a new ballpark.’”
The renovation plans for this offseason are targeted to cost $9 million – $6 million to be paid by the city and $3 million by the Bulls. Any costs that exceed the budgeted $9 million will be covered by the baseball team. The Bulls are currently owned by the parent company of WRAL, Capitol Broadcasting Company.
Here’s a look at the specific changes:
A new club-level lounge, complete with food service and TV screens showing the game. The Bulls envision using this as a year-round event space.
Terraced seating area down the right-field line with picnic and group space, along with dedicated concessions.
A new gate down the left-field line will give fans better access to the ballpark. Other changes include additional concessions, new turf and drainage, and new lighting.
Images courtesy of the Durham Bulls.
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