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Old 11-01-2017, 04:22 AM
nksports nksports is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Newton, KS (the land of Oz)
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Originally Posted by ca View Post
Is Wichita looking at a renovation of its current park or do they want a new one elsewhere ?
A new park at the same location as the old park. The superstructure for Lawrence-Dumont dates back to 1934, although it has been remodeled a couple of times. The last major remodel was at the insistence of the Kansas City Royals when their AA team was there. The outfield walls were reconfigured to be closer to Kauffman Stadium (because of space issues, it was slightly different). Because there used to be an active railroad line along McLains Blvd., which goes around the back of the stadium, the old dimensions were (to the best of my recollection) 317 to right field line, about 325 to the right power alley, then 405 to dead center, 425 to the left power ally (any pro player or NBC player without college eligibility remaining hitting the Marlboro Man there got $500) and about 325 to left field line.
It has been all turf for several years now (it was one of the first stadiums ever to have a turf infield and a grass outfield). Some purists don't like it, but there are close to 200 games a year played there, so the grass was gone by the end of the season.
As far as I know, there are no structural deficiencies. It's just kind of dated. The clubhouse is in pretty bad shape, but it's a separate building beyond the left field wall. The old clubhouses behind the dugouts were stripped long ago. They are only used during the NBC, more or less as a place for teams to store their gear.
The NBC, for the uninitiated, is a tournament for mainly summer college teams, although some national teams are invited. A team of ex-MLB players played the last two years to boost attendance. There are 30 teams from about a dozen leagues that compete. It lasts two weeks and the Wingnuts go on an extended road trip during that time.
In March, April and May, high school, junior college and small college games are played there. The state junior college tournament (NJCAA Division I, Region VI) is sometimes played there. Friends University and Newman University may play the occasional game there. High school regional tournaments are played at the facilities. Every once in a while, a state tournament is held there, but in the last few years, those have moved to college and smaller municipal stadiums (such as the home of the Salina Stockade).
The plans are for a new stadium to be ready by about 2020. The stadium site is in the Delano District, which already has a lot of shopping, dining and bars. It is across the river from another shopping and hotel district (although the biggest tenant of that shopping area, Gander Mountain, just went out of business).
The stadium has ample FREE parking, which is also used for commuter parking for downtown workers and overflow parking for Intrust Bank Arena (about 8 blocks away) with shuttle buses. There is a premium lot for season ticket holders, although anyone else can park there for $5. The city ice rink is right across the street.
The Wingnuts get pretty good attendance between the end of Wichita State's season and the start of the NBC. Wichita State used to be the king of area spring sports, but that program has kind of fell on hard times since coach Stephenson, who won a CWS, retired.
There is kind of a baseball burnout after the NBC and attendance drops again. Wingnut playoff attendance has always been pretty bad, but high school sports start by then.
I should add that the USL has talked to the city about use of the stadium when the USL III starts up (just give us the Swope Park Rangers. They don't draw diddly in KC and if Sporting needs a player, it's just a three-hour drive).

Last edited by nksports; 11-01-2017 at 04:27 AM.
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