The new image of the pinnacle of collegiate baseball was revealed at today’s groundbreaking for the Omaha Baseball Stadium. The City of Omaha, the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) and NCAA leaders unveiled the Omaha Baseball Stadium’s design as the city’s newest downtown attraction.
“The Omaha Baseball Stadium will enhance Omaha’s reputation as one of America’s great sports communities and will create a dynamic new gateway into our city,” said Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey at the groundbreaking.
The ballpark was designed to fit within its context of the downtown entertainment district. Composed primarily of metal, brick and glass, the building’s base is set apart by a unique combination of brick and translucent glass. The glass creates a playful atmosphere – at night, the glass will glow, creating a street ambience, and during the day, visitors approaching the stadium will be able to see the activity within. A metal canopy atop the ballpark’s seating bowl will provide shade and a modern architectural element to the ballpark’s structure.
“Getting to Omaha is such a thrill for collegiate baseball players and fans, and that drove us to create an image of success,” said Martin DiNitto, principal at HOK Sport , the ballpark’s design architect. “The ballpark’s modern expression, coupled with a ballpark experience bar none, will continue to make Omaha a memorable destination.”
In addition to serving as the home to the NCAA College World Series for the next 25 years, the ballpark will provide numerous sports and entertainment opportunities throughout the year, including professional and collegiate baseball, outdoor concerts and special events.
Led by Omaha-based HDR Architecture, Inc.  as architects and engineers of record, the team also includes nationally recognized ballpark designers HOK Sport as design architect and DLR Group  as associate architect.
HDR brings an intimate knowledge of the Omaha landscape, having been a fixture in Omaha architecture for more than 90 years. DLR Group has designed 40 ballparks, and HOK Sport has designed 150 ballparks across the country.
The design team worked with ballpark owner MECA and its Design Advisory Committee to complete the ballpark’s final design. MECA will be responsible for construction and operations of the new ballpark on behalf of the City of Omaha. MECA currently operates Qwest Center Omaha, one of the most successful arena and convention facilities in the country. Primary goals of the project focused on enhancing the student-athlete experience, the fan experience and the community, said Bruce Carpenter, HDR project principal. “This is a tremendous project for the community to continue its legacy as the home of the College World Series – and by creating this vibrant new environment, it will be a place where dreams are realized and memories born,” he said.
The $128 million ballpark will include:
· 24,000 seats, with increased seat width and tread depth for greater comfort
· 26 luxury suites
· 1,000 club seats
· four entrances at each corner of the site, each with a unique arrival point
· more concession and restroom areas to get fans back to the action more quickly
· an open, 360-degree walk-around, wide concourse
· a large Fanfest area
· media totems along the outfield will celebrate each of the eight teams’ successes
· a retail area with views into the bullpen and field
· team clubhouses
· practice facilities and administrative offices.
The ballpark is scheduled to open in the spring of 2011.