LOS ANGELES _ Dodger Stadium opened its gates to fans for the first time in nearly six months Friday, unveiling a $100 million range of renovations to the 51-year-old ballpark.
They're not quite done yet, though. With opening day Monday, construction workers will be working on the stadium through the weekend to ensure regular-season readiness.
"It was no small feat," team president Stan Kasten said at a Friday news conference marking the changes. "We do still have tweaks to make, but we have, I think, enhanced the experience of fans on every level of this park."
To that end, the Dodgers completely renovated all restrooms in four of the five areas of the park, installed new hexagonal high-definition video boards in left and right field and added food options on the top three levels.
Cell-phone service support and a stadium-wide Wi-Fi network are also coming shortly.
"We think all those things together," Kasten said, "will bring you to a Dodger Stadium that is going to be as familiar as it's ever been for anyone who's come here for the last 50 years and a lot more comfortable."
Aesthetically, the park won't look all that different to fans, the most noticeable changes being the scoreboards and the smaller size of the field box section, designed to improve sightlines for higher-paying fans. Other adjustments include wider concourses, new entry plazas and play areas for children.
"They're subtle, and they're respectful of Dodger Stadium's rich history and its unique setting here," said Janet Marie Smith, the team's senior vice president of planning and development. "We tried to take some things that were vintage 1962 and not in a good way and transform this place into something that's really worthy of the marquee name of the Dodgers."
Smith oversaw the entire project in her fourth stadium renovation after Camden Yards in Baltimore, Fenway Park in Boston and Turner Field in Atlanta, where she worked with Kasten, then the Braves' president.
To renovate the now-twice-as-large home clubhouse, she hired the firm of D'Agostino-Izzo-Quirk the same architects responsible for putting seats atop the Green Monster at Fenway. Different firms were used for other parts of the renovation, helping to turn what Smith said should have been a "two-year project" into one condensed in an offseason.
The Dodgers also added an underground batting cage for visitors, which Angels manager Mike Scioscia said was "important" before Friday night's Freeway Series game.
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