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Cover Story - February 2009

Play Ball!

Four New MLB Teams Ready to Take the Plate for Arizona Spring Training

Two massive new sports complexes in the West Valley are getting ready to throw out the first pitch for baseball’s spring training in Arizona.

By Scott Blair

Two new sports complexes will soon be packing in the fans for Major League Baseball spring training games.


The $108 million Goodyear Ballpark and Recreation Complex will host the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds within a 100-acre facility southeast of the planned Goodyear City Center off Estrella Parkway.

Meanwhile, the 152-acre Glendale Spring Training Facility will host the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.

Goodyear Ballpark and Recreation Complex

The first phase of the Goodyear complex began December 2007 with groundbreaking of the Indians' development complex and clubhouse. Phase two, the main public ballpark with 8,000 fixed seats, broke ground in March 2008.

Not long after crews started working at the site, the city began negotiations with the Reds, and soon there was a third phase added to the project: the Reds' 43,000-sq-ft clubhouse, which broke ground in December and is expected to be complete by August.

In addition to the clubhouses, each team's development complex entails six full-size practice ball fields, two half fields and six indoor and six outdoor batting tunnels.

The Cleveland Indians Development Complex was completed in August. Photo courtesy Barton Malow Co.
The Cleveland Indians Development Complex was completed in August. Photo courtesy Barton Malow Co.

Phase one is complete, and the Indians took occupancy in September. Phase two is also nearing completion, with the first game being held February 25th. All three phases are being built by Tempe-based construction-manager-at-risk Barton Malow Co. Kansas City-based HOK Sport is the architect.

Goodyear is handling offsite infrastructure itself after opting to terminate an agreement with the original developer and is working with Phoenix-based general contractor Haydon Building Corp. to finish roadways, sewer lines and utilities.

The public ballpark is a fully recessed bowl which required the removal of 100,000 sq ft of dirt. "It got interesting because we started hitting some caliche and sand layers," says Tedd Stately, senior project manager with Barton Malow. "We had to bring a hoe ram out to get through the caliche to get our footings in.

“This is probably the best draining field in Arizona because we are at the sand layer even with the drainage blanket underneath,” he adds. “We are not getting any water to our sump pit off the field, which is pretty much unheard of.”

Another unusual aspect was the decision not to use sod on the fields. While done for the cost savings, it also benefits the players because “if you walk our naturally grown playing fields, they are perfectly flat,” Stately says. “There are no divots or dents in them like what happens when you lay sod.”

The main home plate building rises three stories. A team shop, restrooms and concessions occupy the ground floor, suites are on the second floor and an 80-person party deck is on the third.

A two-story right-field building has a party deck with bar on top and a lower level opening to the ball field that houses two clubhouses, a batting tunnel and laundry facilities.

Buildings are characterized by a unique mix of materials including exposed cast-in-place concrete, resin panels, Galvalum metal panels, floating steel staircases and various configurations of CMU.

Because of the project's phasing and complex funding, a total of seven GMP's were issued in order to lock in prices on long-lead materials and to get subcontractors under contract as fast as possible, Stately says.

Glendale Spring Training Facility

Construction-manager-at-risk Mortenson Construction's Chandler office broke ground on the Glendale facility in November 2007 at Camelback Road and 107th Avenue. The project is slated for completion in March.

The Glendale Spring Training Complex features a main stadium, four major league practice fields, eight minor league fields, two half fields and a lake and river complex. Photo courtesy Mortenson Construction
The Glendale Spring Training Complex features a main stadium, four major league practice fields, eight minor league fields, two half fields and a lake and river complex. Photo courtesy Mortenson Construction

The main stadium will provide 8,000 fixed seats and has enough lawn seating for another 3,000 fans. Other components include twelve practice fields, separate clubhouses totaling 118,000 sq ft for the Dodgers and White Sox and parking for 7,500 vehicles.

A unique amenity to the facility is a 1,300-ft-long lake and river system. “It serves the dual purpose of irrigation for fields and site landscaping; and as aesthetic enhancement to the park,” says Tab Barth, senior project manager with Mortenson. “The system physically splits the teams' practice facilities yet has interconnecting walking trails.”

The lake, completed in July, is filled with reclaimed water from the City's nearby West Area Water Reclamation Facility, says Jennifer Reichelt, deputy marketing director with the City of Glendale. The original GMP was for $80 million, but since it did not include off-site infrastructure and other costs, Reichelt says the final cost will likely be in line with those of the Goodyear complex.

Mortenson began working with Phoenix-based design firm HKS early, touring existing facilities with the Dodgers and White Sox to find out their likes and dislikes to determine the program and initial cost model. As the design progressed, Mortenson evaluated various options for constructability and budget. “For example, we evaluated six different shaped structures on the stadium to determine what would be the most efficient and cost-effective solution,” Barth says. “We also took a proactive team approach with key subcontractors that allowed the design to be completed with real cost information and material requirements.”

Subcontractors included Peoria-based Riggs Contracting for tilt-up concrete and Phoenix-based Schuff Steel Co., which fabricated and erected 1,100 tons of structural steel for the project.

The main stadium, comprised of a cast-in-place concrete bowl, sits 12 ft below grade with the surrounding stadium buildings elevated around the main field for unobstructed views. A raised press box and suite level sits behind the stands and is connected to the ticket office building via a steel pedestrian bridge. There are a total of five concessions buildings surrounding the ballpark.

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  • Most buildings have slab-on-grade foundations and are comprised of concrete tilt-up walls and steel-supported metal deck roof, Barth says. Finish materials include tri-color staining on tilt-up concrete walls, natural stone veneers, split-face CMU and architectural metal panels.

    To further support the site, Glendale has partnered with Scottsdale-based Rightpath Ltd. to develop 500 acres of adjacent land. Dubbed Main Street, the project is planned for 5,000,000 sq ft of retail, dining, office and residential. USA Basketball, the governing body for U.S. men's and women's basketball, will be moving its corporate headquarters to the development.

    Key Players

    Goodyear Ballpark & Recreation Complex

    Owner: City of Goodyear
    General Contractor: Barton Malow Co.
    Architect: HOK Sport
    Engineers: A.V. Schwan & Associates; Terra Sport Inc.
    Subcontractors: Corbins Electric; Siteworks; Code One Construction; Kovach; West Coast Netting; Kern Masonry

    Glendale Spring Training Complex

    Owner: City of Glendale
    General Contractor: Mortenson Construction
    Architect: HKS Inc.
    Subcontractors: Schuff Steel; Siteworks; Metropolitan Mechanical Contractors; Wilson Electric; Construction 70; Kear Civil Corp.; Arizona Materials; Riggs Contracting


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