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Kauffman Stadium facelift takes shape

Kauffman Stadium facelift takes shape

KANSAS CITY -- The renovations at Kauffman Stadium are finished -- in miniature, that is.

The Royals and architectural firm HOK Sports unveiled a 36-by-52 inch model of the revamped stadium at a news conference on Friday.

"Models are an important architectural tool," said Kevin Uhlich, senior vice president-business operations of the Royals.

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"It helps us, as we go through the design process, to really understand what the design is. It will also give our fans a realistic view of what Kauffman will look like in 2009."

Uhlich pointed to concourses that are double the present size, enhanced outfield plaza areas and a large new scoreboard.

Earl Santee, senior principal at HOK, pointed out several innovations including a new Royals Hall of Fame and a Walk of Fame that will include current stadium statues of Mr. and Mrs. Ewing Kauffman, Frank White and George Brett.

The current JumboTron and the center-field scoreboard will be replaced by what Santee called "the largest video display in America."

The fountains, called the "Water Spectacular" by the late Mrs. Kauffman, will remain. However, there will be a seating area in front of the left-field water display and a standing area for fans in front of the right-field display.

"This is a way to bring fans closer to the action," Santee said.

The outfield walls will be a bit closer -- 33 inches, or almost three feet -- to home plate. The walls will remain the current nine feet high.

The bullpens will remain in left and right field, but will be changed so the pitchers, as they warm up, will be more visible to the fans.

The capacity of the stadium will be about 39,000 compared to the current 40,785. Seats are being added in the outfield areas but reduced in the upper deck.

By next season, Santee said, fans should see the new outfield fence and bullpens, the new scoreboard, and plenty of construction. The project is to be completed by 2009.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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