Bricktown Ballpark updates provide venue options

By Molly M. Fleming

The Journal Record

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Architect Patrick Schoenfeldt carved out a brighter diamond at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

 

Schoenfeldt worked with the city of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Dodgers on the renovation design for The Diamond Lounge. The lounge is now named Oklahoma Fidelity Bank Club.

 

Schoenfeldt works at Studio Architecture. Sports venues are in the firm’s foray, with updates at the University of Oklahoma’s Lloyd Noble Center on its projects board.

 

The Oklahoma Fidelity Bank Club was expanded from 2,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet, with a 170-person seating capacity. The Dodgers removed four suites to make the extra room, opening the second-floor space to a ballpark view. People can sit on a large, gray couch and have a behind-home-plate view of the ballpark.

 

The space is not only for ticket holders. The team is marketing it as an event space, said Michael Byrnes, Dodgers president and general manager. He said the management’s event staff will soon start showing it to planners, looking for the next meeting area.

 

“We have it set up so they can do a bunch of different setups,” said Schoenfeldt. The space now has roll-down screens for presentations.

 

Interior designers Shelly Stephens and Katherine Olmstead made sure the furniture could be rearranged to accommodate an event.

 

“We were mainly trying to raise the presence there,” Schoenfeldt said. “We wanted to give them a lot of venue options.”

 

The renovation was more challenging than just new paint and furniture. There was no direct way for suites-seated fans to get to the lounge.

 

The stairway was at the east end. Studio Architecture priced the stairs and luckily they fit the $750,000 budget. The stairs are cut so they are east of the lounge, but open directly into the space. The stairs hang off the above structure since there are no footings on the second floor.

 

The project was funded by the $1-per-ticket facility fee, which the Dodgers started taking three years ago, Byrnes said. The fund is managed by the Dodgers and the city. The Oklahoma Fidelity Club update is the first major project with the money.

 

The lounge update called for a change to the food options as well. There are now more than 12 menus that will rotate through the buffet line at the club.

 

But Byrnes said the club recognizes there are classics that must remain at such a venue, even in a renovated lounge.

 

“It’s important to still have hot dogs,” he said. “There are some people that because they are at a ballpark, they want a hot dog.”

 

This will be the 20th season that baseball has been played at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Dodgers have an array of events planned around the anniversary. Ticket package sales are up 8 percent compared with last year, Byrnes said. Group ticket sales are on par with last year, but those sales will continue during the season as well. Individual tickets went on sale a week ago and the first game is April 6.

 

Byrnes said he’s hearing from the Los Angeles Dodgers staff that the Oklahoma City team should do well this year. But Byrnes can’t control who walks onto the field at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. He has to make sure the fans have a good experience.

 

The updates help people keep up excitement about the venue, he said.

 

“We can’t control wins and losses,” he said. “We don’t even know our roster in the first of April. But we can control the experience and make sure the ballpark is clean. The improvements at the ballpark speak volumes to our commitment to the facility.”