New Wichita ballpark designs were unveiled Wednesday, providing an early glimpse of the future home of the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).
Following the 2019 season, the Baby Cakes will relocate to Wichita, KS, where a new ballpark is being planned. The $75 million facility–which will be built at the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, albeit with a slightly different footprint–is expected to feature about 6,000 fixed seats with a total capacity around 10,000. Among the amenities planned for the ballpark include berm seating, group areas, a 360-concourse, and more.
Officials believe that the designs reflect some goals of the project, including the hope to bring more activity to the surrounding area while making the venue usable for a variety of non-baseball events. More from the Wichita Eagle:
“It truly is more than just a ball park, although it’s an impressive ball park,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “It truly is going to be an anchor for the (Arkansas) river and other activity along the river.”
In addition to basic functional improvements like modern locker rooms, the new stadium will have a lot of bells and whistles the old one didn’t have.
The main entry plaza will face out onto McLean and the Arkansas River, said project architect Shannon Boehm. Designed for pre-game activity, it will lead into a large plaza behind center field with an outfield tower, a large team shop, a baseball museum and team offices just inside the main entry gate.
In comparison to Lawrence-Dumont’s one entry, the new stadium will have three. There will be one on the north side for fans entering from the Delano business district and another one on the south side at Maple.
In December, the Wichita City Council approved a design-build team that includes JE Dunn Construction, DLR Group, EBY Construction, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture and Professional Engineering Consultants. The city council is slated to consider the latest design plans on February 12, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for the following day in anticipation of completing construction in time for the 2020 season.
The Baby Cakes, who are planning to adopt a new identity that will take effect with the move, will be Wichita’s first affiliated Minor League Baseball team since the Wichita Wranglers (Class AA; Texas League) moved to Northwest Arkansas after the 2007 season. In addition to MiLB action, the new ballpark will be home to the annual National Baseball Congress World Series.
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