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Dodgers to open season at renovated stadium today

City News Service | 4/1/2013, 9:04 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers will open their 2013 season today against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium, which underwent $100 million worth of improvements during the offseason.

The upgrades -- including new high-definition video boards in left field and right field, wider concourses and expanded restrooms -- will make attending a game "a lot more comfortable, a lot more entertaining and a lot more fun," said team president and CEO Stan Kasten.

The new video boards feature what the team describes as the highest pixel densities in Major League Baseball. Both displays are designed in the hexagonal shape of the stadium's original scoreboard and are each approximately 2,488 square feet. The active viewing areas will be 66 percent larger than the previous board.

A new sound system directed to each seating section will minimize echoes.

Between two and four rows of seats were removed from the back of the field, loge, reserve and upper reserve levels to provide more walking space on each concourse, along with more wheelchair locations and "drink rails" for fans who leave their seats during the game to walk around the stadium.

Also removed were 426 club seats along the foul lines to improve sight lines. The various seat removals will reduce the stadium's capacity to "just under" the previous capacity of 56,000, according to Janet Marie Smith, the team's senior vice president of planning and development, who oversaw the
improvements.

All restrooms on the top deck, reserve and loge levels were completely renovated and enlarged. Men's restrooms have twice the number of fixtures required by code, and women's restrooms have 50 percent more fixtures than required.

The restrooms in the pavilions were moved to under the pavilions. Family restrooms have been created on all levels.

The amount of positions for fans in wheelchairs was increased on the loge, reserve and top deck levels. Each position has a companion seat and is positioned so fans have improved views of the game, even if someone in front of them stands up.

Children's play areas were built on the first base and third base sides of the reserve level. Five-foot high sculptures of the team's retired numbers are outside the entrance to the upper reserve level. Life-size replicas of bobbleheads and MVP, Cy Young and Gold Glove awards are at the entry plazas on
the reserve levels.

A new retail store was built at the Top of the Park location behind home plate. It will be open daily, along with the Top of the Park ticket office. A second retail store was built on the reserve level on the third base side.

What is described as a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network and cellular antenna system to support cellphone and Internet connectivity from mobile devices is expected to be completed in June. A new electrical power grid with seven new substations was added to accommodate the Wi-Fi network and cellular
antenna system.

One objective of the renovations was "to make the park feel safe from the moment" fans arrive, Smith said. Kasten said lighting has been added to the parking lots, and the team has added security staff and implemented new safety procedures that he declined to detail.