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(Reading, PA) - The Reading Phillies unveiled detailed plans for their $10 Million Renovations to FirstEnergy Stadium during a press conference at FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday evening.
"We are taking everything fans love about this classic ballpark, and making it better," said R-Phils GM Scott Hunsicker. "The renovations are exciting, and in some ways, a rebirth. These renovations will make FirstEnergy Stadium a world class facility for the next 50-75 years."
The $10 Million renovations which have already begun, include the brand new VIST Financial Plaza, an expanded ticket plaza outside of the gates, a climate controlled walk-in team store, family bathrooms, brand new offices for front office members, more parking spaces, light poles, cement in the main grandstand, padded outfield walls, and new clubhouses for both the home and visiting teams. The renovations will be finished in time for Opening Day of the 2011 season. Reading will make their home debut on Thursday, April 14 at 7:05 p.m. against the Akron Aeros.
The signature element of the FirstEnergy Stadium renovations is the VIST Financial Plaza, which will serve as the place where all fans can go to enjoy great food, music, and more. Four times as large as the previous Food Court, (the plaza size goes from 36' (2010 food court) to 81' from concession stand to Classic Café), the VIST Financial Plaza will also be completely covered by protected netting. The netting will be approximately 23' in height.
Perhaps the one focal point of the VIST Financial Plaza will be the permanent performance stage, which features a state-of-the-art sound system and video capabilities. Fans can expect great performances on the stage before and after R-Phils games. The stage will be the home to great bands such as the National Penn R-Phils Mascot Band and many more for years to come.
"The Reading Phillies have always strived to bring fans great concerts, and now, with the new stage in the VIST Financial Plaza, musical entertainment will be taken to the next level," said R-Phils GM Scott Hunsicker.
New concession stands will be constructed in the VIST Financial Plaza - relocating several stands from underneath the main grandstand. Fans can expect great food when they enter the ballpark every night.
The new team store, which will be located by the new entry plaza, will serve as the place fans can do all their shopping for R-Phils gear. Fans of all ages will be able to find great gear like the players wear, and there will even be great memorabilia and collectibles for all to enjoy. The new team store, which will be air conditioned, will have a door for adults to enter, but will also feature a door just for kids, so that all kids can have their own entrance into the new team store. The team store will be accessible from outside the VIST Financial Plaza gates, inside the gates, and from the main concourse.
Also, there will be an expanded ticket plaza outside the gates, which will be four times the size of the existing front area of the gates. The new ticket plaza will feature eight ticket windows instead of the previous five.
Another great part of the renovations will be the new home clubhouse, which has increased in square feet by 45%. The clubhouse will provide the team with a much more comfortable atmosphere, and will also keep the classic feel to it. The one thing that will stay the same for both the players and fans, will be that R-Phils' players will still cross the concourse to enter the playing field - a hallmark of the Reading Phillies experience. The visitor clubhouse will increase by 80%, and visiting players will also still cross the concourse to enter the playing field, much like the R-Phils. One other great part for the players, will be the padded outfield walls, which will protect the athletes on the field.
More details and updates of all the renovations to America's Classic Ballpark, can be found online at readingphillies.com. Stay up-to-date with the progress of the renovations each day with videos, photos, and more.
The Reading Phillies will open the 2011 season at the newly-remodeled FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday, April 14 for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Akron Aeros. Fans interested in renewing their season tickets and mini-plans, can do so now by visiting readingphillies.com, or by calling 610-375-8469.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.