Peoria Sports Complex phase 3 improvements well on the way

Friday, Jun 19, 2015

The Peoria Sports Complex has begun phase 3 construction that will add more seats, a larger social area, an interactive kid’s zone and a Little League-size turf area.

“Our interest is having a facility that we can use all year round,” said Peoria Sports Complex Sports Facility Manager Chris Calcaterra. “We have been using the model from youth sports, Peoria community events and civic engagement; we took those three items and built upon that.”

Construction on phase 3 began in early June when workers removed temporary metal grandstands down the third base line. The new section will add 605 seats with 250 in the lower area and 355 in the upper section.

“From the teams’ perspective, they want more seats because they are going to get better,” Calcaterra said. “From the city running inside the sports complex is you have to create reasons that people want to come. Whether it is a kid’s zone to bringing them in to see the complex, we want them to enjoy themselves.”

As construction continues, they are planning to add, along with the new seats, a Little League-size field with turf along with a kid’s zone with bounce houses and a water zone. Also planned is a parent’s area with tables covered with misters and television to watch games while their children play in the kid’s zone.

“We envisioned an atmosphere where families can come and parents can enjoy the game while the kids have fun also,” Calcaterra said. “Again, it comes down to we want people to enjoy the games, but also want to come year round to enjoy all the amenities.”

Phase 1 was the extension of the two new clubhouses that were completed in February 2014, which included the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners signing 20-year lease extensions to play spring training at the complex.

“The teams were with us the entire way and could see and feel the improvements as they were happening,” Calcaterra said. “I think when they came down, we met with ownership during the first few games and they were enthralled with what we had done.”

The improvements in phase 2 included adding a new entrance, a new team store, a second souvenir shop and a club-level party deck for use before and after games, as well as replacing the third-base grandstands with fixed seats and high-end seats with air-conditioning and drink rows.

“From day one, the best response and affirmation that we hit the nail on the head was walking around during the first game and listening to fans’ response,” Calcaterra said. “Listening to them rave about the stadium and what was new, for me, that showed we nailed it.”

As phase 3 continues, Calcaterra said the response from fans and the city has been overwhelmingly positive as they prepare for future improvements that he said need to be added.

“We missed a few things but those are things we will take care of,” Calcaterra said. “We will have some permanent shade in the future, but until we get there, we are extremely happy and believe the money was spent wisely and our upgrades will help us for years to come.”

Phase 1 cost the city $30 million for the two clubhouses; $9.2 million for stadium improvements in phase 2 and $3.6 million projected for phase 3 for a total cost of just under $43 million.

“The best part of all this is we got the improvements that were needed and we came in under budget,” Calcaterra said.

The phase 3 construction is expected to be completed in time for Arizona Fall League games in October.

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