Sizing up the upgrades to Dodger Stadium.

Dodger Stadium renovation

We’ve known for some time that Dodger Stadium was getting major renovations this off-season. On Tuesday we got a better idea of how sprawling the multi-year project is. More than any questions about how the fan experience will be improved — if you complained about it, the team was listening — one was left to wonder: Are they going to get this done in time for the first Freeway Series game against the Angels on March 29?

“I think we’re going to get it done by opening day,” team president Stan Kasten said. “The unforeseen is unforeseeable. It might bleed into the season.”

Check out these photos and judge for yourself. An artist’s rendering of the final product is above.

Kasten asked fans to grant “a little bit of patience through the first homestand” to work out the inevitable kinks. The new features include:

  • New High Definition video boards in left field and right field. The existing message boards, including ribbon boards at the Loge level and outfield wall, will be replaced with the new technology as well. The unique hexagon shape of both scoreboards will be restored. Kasten said it’s the first 1080 HD scoreboard to be installed at an outdoor major-league stadium. For comparison’s sake, it’s the same picture quality (albeit at a smaller size) as the massive scoreboard installed at Cowboys Stadium in 2009.
  • A new sound system directed to minimize echoes and sound migration outside the stadium, with sound piped into the concourses and bathrooms.
  • A state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network and cellular antenna system to support cell-phone and internet connectivity from mobile devices. The new network will feature 1500 data points inside the stadium.
  • Wider concourses and additional locations for wheelchair bound fans and their companions on all levels, including wheelchair accessable areas in the seats closest to the field.
  • Expanded and renovated restrooms with “substantially” more fixtures.
  • Food service enhancements to loge, reserve and upper reserve levels including new stands, cooking facilities and menus. (Kasten said that team staff participated in a hot dog taste test Monday, but the Dodger Dog will not be altered.)
  • New Field Level entry plazas and bullpen overlooks to create standing room areas with a view of the game.
  • A new home team clubhouse, expanded and enhanced training/conditioning areas, and new batting cages for both teams.
  • Elongated bullpens with a concourse above, where fans can lean on a rail and watch pitchers warm up.
  • Six extra feet of foul territory in front of both dugouts, but no changes to the outfield dimensions.
  • A less cluttered center-field backdrop that may go from black to blue – Kasten said the exact color hasn’t been decided yet.

Down the road, Kasten mentioned a team museum among “a hundred” projects they won’t have time to install in the next three months. He estimated the cost of these renovations at approximately $100 million.

That’s a strong financial commitment to a ballpark that some consider outdated, and others consider expendable. Senior Vice President of Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith, the architect behind many “Extreme Makeover: Stadium Editions”, said she was never asked if renovating the current stadium was viable long-term. “The question we’ve been asked is, ‘this is home – how can we make this is good as it can be?’”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.