LP Frans Stadium will receive numerous improvements before the 2018 season, as the Texas Rangers and Hickory Crawdads (Low A; Sally League) have announced a slate of upgrades. Among the changes are a new videoboard, replaced playing surface, new protective netting, and other improvements.
The announcement was made at a public event on Tuesday at LP Frans Stadium that was attended by officials from the Rangers, Crawdads, and City of Hickory.
On October 12, the Rangers announced that the organization had purchased the Crawdads franchise from the ownership group led by majority owner Don Beaver, who had owned and operated the team since 1993. The Rangers and City of Hickory have signed a new LP Frans Stadium lease that extends through 2022 and includes an option through 2027.
“The Texas Rangers are proud and honored to have acquired a franchise that thrived under the stewardship of Don Beaver and his ownership for the last quarter century,” said Neil Leibman, Chairman of the Texas Rangers Ownership Committee and the new President of the Crawdads. “We are so pleased to be able to announce a series of improvements to one of the South Atlantic League’s finest parks that will allow fans and players to have an even better experience at LP Frans Stadium.”
Improvements to LP Frans Stadium, which was originally built in 1993, will include the following:
–A new stadium video board in right center field that is expected to measure 16 feet high and 54 feet in length. The current board at LP Frans Stadium is 12 feet high and 20 feet in length.
–An entirely new playing surface, including new infield and outfield sod, new dirt in the infield and on the warning track, and a new irrigation system.
–New protective netting behind home plate and down the right field that will eliminate many of the current large structure poles that have caused problems with sightlines.
–A totally rebuilt outfield wall with new padding that will run from foul pole to foul pole. The height of the outfield wall will remain at eight feet.
–Renovated first and third base dugouts to include new flooring, steps, and benches as well as rebuilt bat and helmet racks.
The Rangers will provide the initial funding of approximately one million dollars for the 2018 stadium improvements with the City of Hickory reimbursing the club that amount over the next two years. The Rangers also announced that the team plans to make future improvements to LP Frans Stadium in areas such as food service and maintenance equipment that will be fully funded by the Texas organization.