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The Penndulum

The Penndulum

Build It And They Will Come

Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium 2008

Unlike residential construction which takes an average of seven months to complete, building a structure like a baseball stadium can take three years or more. It is a process that takes vision, planning, and a lot of money. One of the first steps in the process is gathering requirements of the structure. From there, the manager needs to nail down specifics regarding materials, structure, and schematics. Once calculations have been verified and criteria has been met, the final design is approved, and construction can begin.

A 1979 book, “Certain Ballparks Have Their Own Special Charm”, gives a simple outline to the process. “Old, if properly refurbished, is always better than new. Smaller is better than bigger. Open is better than closed. Near beats far. Silent visual effects are better than loud ones. Eye pollution hurts attendance. Inside should look as good as outside. Dome stadiums are criminal.” While some of this advice may be outdated, it speaks to the simplicity that is lost in modern stadiums. To draw new visitors, team owners demand new bells and whistles in their new construction but keeping in mind these basic principles will ensure a positive experience for all visitors. I contacted Rick Bach, the senior leader of the Sofi stadium project for an interview but he did not respond to my request. He did note in a previous interview, “that you start planning, you start construction years away from when it’s supposed to be open, but the technology on the customer experience side evolves”. Managers need to stay on top of trends and technology to give customers the best possible experience.

One unexpected factor that plays a role in baseball stadium construction is the sun. Many ballparks are designed so that the sun sets behind third base and shines on right field. Fly balls are less frequent in right field due to larger number of right-handed hitters. Wind direction and placement of owners boxes may also affect layout of the stadium.

Environmental impact is a huge consideration when building a stadium. Energy efficient doors and windows help to offset some of the overwhelming costs of construction. Other green initiatives such as collecting runoff to irrigate local vegetation also help to offset the negative impact on the environment. Even something as simple as building within walking distance of public transportation is an important consideration in stadium construction.

Dylan Landis, who has worked in construction for 13 years, has never been part of a stadium construction but has been involved with building a school. Differences between residential and large-scale projects generally come down to money, the number of people/groups involved and controlling crowds within the space. “The trick is to control crowds and keep people moving so a small space doesn’t feel confining. People tend to avoid crowded spaces so if you can disperse people and keep foot traffic moving, people enjoy their time in that venue.”

Regardless of size and function, stadium building is a project that requires coordination of the work of hundreds of people over thousands of hours, but one thing is for certain; if you build it, they will come.

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About the Contributors
Kyle Bergey, Student Writer
Kyle Bergey, Grade 12. Interests/hobbies include band, hanging out with family and friends, video games, and sports. Kyle plans to attend college to study sports media and hopes to pursue a bachelor's degree in sports media.
Aaron Ladd, Student Writer
Aaron Ladd, Grade 12. Interests include volleyball, drumming, escape rooms, playing video games, and learning different ways to execute math problems. Aaron currently works for Ludwig Renovations and works to renovate customer's kitchens and bathrooms. Aaron plans to attend Wilkes University and wishes to get a bachelor's degree in structural engineering.

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