First Look: Big Changes Coming to West Michigan Whitecaps’ LMCU Ballpark
Change is coming for the West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team and LMCU Ballpark...
The Whitecaps hyped that a "major announcement" about "the future" was coming via a press conference on Thursday.
Joe Chamberlain CEO and managing partner of West Michigan Whitecaps shared the exciting news:
The Whitecaps are embarking on a multi-year project to reimagine and modernize LMCU Ballpark, which was originally built in 1994.
Chamberlain said that in the 29 seasons since the ballpark has opened, the needs of the players and fans have changed, he also noted that as 2021, Major League Baseball has been more involved in operation of minor league systems, and that includes facility standards.
The Whitecaps have been working with architects, engineers, and general contractors for the past 18 months.
Specifically, the Whitecaps have been working with Detroit-based firm ROSETTI and also West Michigan's Progressive AE and Erhardt Construction on the project.
Chamberlain says with the new Masterplan they "dreamed big and reimagined what ballpark could look like".
The two-phase construction project will begin in spring of 2023 and should be completed within five years.
Phase 1 will focus on player-facing improvements and will be completed and be completed before the 2024 season.
- Both home and visitor clubhouses will be rebuilt.
- The grass and infield playing surface will be fully replaced, including the drainage system.
- Bullpens will be moved.
- Outfield dimensions will be reconfigured to closely match the angles players will see when they reach the Major Leagues.
The new home clubhouse will offer enhanced player spaces, larger weight room and training facilities, dedicated space for female coaching staff, and a state-of-the-art batting tunnel attached to the home clubhouse.
Phase 1 will also revitalize the group hospitality experience at LMCU Ballpark with the construction of a new suite-level club space and expanded and upgraded group terraces on what is now the first and third base lawn areas.
Phase Two will stretch into 2025 and beyond and will include:
- A reimagined stadium entrance experience that offers a view of the baseball field straight ahead as fans reach the top of the steps.
- Exterior site activation for more entertainment options in the spaces outside the facility.
- Beautification of the facility’s 45 acres, all conforming to the beach theme.
- A fully reimagined and updated suite level with a home plate club area.
- An expanded concourse with new and improved food, entertainment and gathering options, including the construction of private outdoor suites for groups that prefer the great outdoors.
- A new CapSized Shop retail space and new ticket office.
- A new 360-degree concourse, modeled after a lakeshore style boardwalk, that allows fans to walk all the way around the field, enjoy gathering spaces in the outfield area and view the game from a number of different perspectives.
- A state-of-the-art 400-seat center field hospitality club and special events center, the ballpark’s largest space yet, that will provide a new level of gameday experience while also creating one of West Michigan’s most unique views for weddings, conferences, and other large scale special events.
Chamberlain said in a release,
This venue has always been one of the best in Minor League Baseball, and we have maintained it incredibly well over the last 30 years. But there is nothing like a NEW ballpark, and that’s what we are committed to delivering to West Michigan. When this project is completed, LMCU Ballpark will look and feel like a brand-new facility ready to meet the needs of a new generation of fans. It’s going to be FUN to see how this community responds to work we have planned; I think they are going to love it.
Here's the video the Whitecaps shared on their master plan to remodel LMCU Ballpark.
We are currently 84 days away from the West Michigan Whitecaps opening day at LMCU Ballpark - It's April 6, 2023.