New Third Base Deck to widen Grandstand walkways; Stairways, escalators, restrooms provide new conveniences; Private Suites receive major upgrade
BOSTON, MA -- The Boston Red Sox today announced their plans to improve Fenway Park for the 2007 season, the 95th Anniversary of “ America ’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” The club has engaged in a series of annual improvements since the ownership group of John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and their partners purchased the club before the start of the 2002 season and committed the franchise to the preservation, protection, and improvement of Fenway Park , the oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues.
The “Year VI” improvements include a spacious new “Third Base Deck,” located behind the Grandstand seats in left field, renovations to the Private Suites, a new stair adjacent to the 24 Yawkey Way door, new escalators to the EMC Club from a renovated 20 Yawkey Way lobby, new restrooms in the State Street Pavilion and Grandstand area, and new MBTA “Charlie Cards” vending machines to ease the process of “Taking the T.”
The new Third Base Deck area will boast the first ever Ladies Room on the 3rd base Grandstand concourse. A men’s room was constructed in this area in 1912; it, too, will be renovated this year to provide ADA access.
“The ‘First Base Deck’ that we built two years ago reduced congestion and added comfort at the top of the grandstand on one side of the park, and now we are able to make improvements to the other side,” said Lucchino, the club’s President/CEO.
Construction crews have demolished part of the wall that separated the third base Grandstand in Fenway from offices formerly occupied by NESN in the adjacent 1914 Jeano Building . The two buildings, Fenway and Jeano, have had a physical connection since 1949 when a radio station moved into the Jeano Building and created a bridge through a light well directly into Fenway Park .
This 2007 third base opening is a magnification of that 58-year-old connection. NESN moved most of its offices to Watertown last spring. That space will now house a large new restroom for ladies and new dedicated standing room positions with a drink rail for added convenience. It will also accommodate a new concession area to further reduce time lost waiting in line and enhance the connection to the Gate E stair making it easier for fans to enter and exit the ballpark on Lansdowne Street .
In addition, fans behind home plate will have an easier time navigating to the top of the Grandstand concourse behind home plate. The construction of a new staircase from Yawkey Way to the back of the Grandstand at Section 22 will improve vertical circulation. The area inside Gate D has long been one of the most crowded areas on the concourses in part because all fans had to enter through the lower vomitories at the field level. This stair resurrects one of the elements of the 1934 Osborn architectural plans allowing fans to go directly from the Yawkey Way entrance to the Grandstand seats.
The club will also add cup holders to Field Box seats and improve the entry way at 20 Yawkey Way .
A total of 26 Private Suites, 13 on both the left and right field side, are undergoing extensive renovations for 2007. This includes reconfigured exterior seating and completely remodeled interiors and bathroom facilities. With a new front window design, suite holders will be able to enjoy a complete “open-air” experience for the first time. The suite construction is the first phase of a two-year process to renovate all of the Private Suites at Fenway Park .
In addition to improving the experience for fans, the Red Sox are making improvements for the employees with whom fans have the most contact by constructing new locker room facilities for day-of-game staff.
“Our ushers, ticket takers, and security people have long needed improved dressing areas,” Lucchino said. “Such back-of-the-house improvements are not visible, but their effect can be. We ask our event personnel to exude a sense of friendliness and hospitality, and we know they deserve improved surroundings for their experience as well.”
Less visible to fans are infrastructure improvements including an increased power supply and upgrades to safety codes that allow for greater seating capacity in future years. The Red Sox have previously stated that their goal the capacity of Fenway Park is 39,928 in seats and standing room, a 10% increase over the decades-long 36,298 occupancy. The Red Sox are also revamping the press box to add space and conveniences and to accommodate the larger international media contingent expected this season.
An improvement expected to open during the 2007 season will be a bleacher bar & grill in the center field area that previously housed the visitors’ batting cages. A new batting tunnel for the visitors will be near their clubhouse, representing the first time in Fenway history that players will not have to walk across the playing field to warm up in a batting cage. A batting cage for the Red Sox was constructed adjacent to the dugout by excavating under the field box seats in 2005. The bleacher bar & grill will sit under the Bleacher section and open onto Lansdowne St. , with a view into the ballpark as well.
The renovations for 2007 were designed by D’Agostino, Izzo & Quirk of Somerville , MA . McNamara-Salvia is the structural engineer, and SEI Companies is serving as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer with both firms based in Boston . The code and life safety consultant is Howe Engineers of Sandwich, MA. Construction is being done by William A. Berry & Son, Inc. of Danvers , MA and the BostonBoston office of Struever Brothers Eccles & Rouse is acting as the Red Sox program manager. office of Gilbane Building Company.
“John Henry, Tom Werner, and the entire ownership are personally and deeply committed to the preservation and improvement of Fenway Park , as evidenced by the commitment thus far of well over $100 million of investment during our period of ownership,” commented Lucchino.
More documents on the Fenway renovation can be seen here on The Biz of Baseball
Also, images from Boston.com on 1/24/07