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August 11, 2022

Skanska builds improvements at T-Mobile Park while trying to be ‘invisible' to baseball fans

  • Skanska is working with the Mariners' schedule to complete renovations in time for next year's MLB All Star Game.
    Special to the Journal

    Photo courtesy of Skanska [enlarge]
    Crews prepare to pour a structural concrete slab that will fill in the openings between the main concourse and press level behind home plate.

    As the Seattle Mariners continue their quest for a winning formula to make it into the playoffs this season, Skanska is doing its part to give T-Mobile Park a makeover.

    T-Mobile Park, which had its name changed from Safeco Field in 2019, has hosted countless memorable baseball moments in its 23-year history. Replacing the Kingdome, T-Mobile Park has given Mariners fans a first-class venue to watch baseball, rain or shine.

    Designed by NBBJ in the late '90s, T-Mobile Park sports a retro-modern design — blending brick facade features with modern amenities such as a retractable roof and player and fan amenities essential by today's pro baseball standards.

    The Kansas City, Missouri-based design firm Populous, which also designed the Tottenham Hotspur soccer stadium in England, designed the current renovations at T-Mobile Park.

    Construction on the renovations began in February and will be complete in March 2023, with Skanska acting as the general contractor. The project list includes renovating the press box, umpires' locker room, women's locker room, interview room and media¯dining room.

    “Our work with the Mariners for the T-Mobile Park renovation is very exciting and includes various components,” said Anna Assarsson, Skanska senior project manager. “We will be doing a complete renovation of the Diamond Club and the press area behind home plate.”

    The Diamond Club will be fully gutted and rebuilt, and will feature a 2,340-square-foot commercial kitchen.

    Additionally, the current press area behind home plate will be gutted and remodeled into a new premium club called the Press Club, which also will have a new commercial kitchen, for a combined square footage of 17,575.

    With the Mariners' season currently in full swing, Skanska has been tasked with completing the renovations while trying not to be noticed, Assarsson said.

    “One of our top shared priorities is to ensure that the Mariners can still provide their fans with the best fan experience possible,” she said. “Because of this top priority, one of our biggest challenges throughout construction is to try and be as ‘invisible' as possible, ensuring the fan experience is not impacted. Additionally, we must be strategic and work around other events in the ballpark such as concerts and graduations.”

    Skanska has plenty of experience, Assarsson said, working with the Mariners' schedule at T-Mobile Park. Skanska has in the past replaced roof wheels on the stadium; installed statues of Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez; finished ADA upgrades and bathroom renovations; completed the rotunda roof top deck; and renovated the bullpen. Skanska has also done several structural repairs and upgrades at T-Mobile Park.

    The design of the ballpark, with its versatility of uses and openness to the elements, quickly won over fans when it opened in July 1999.

    Structurally, the park is exemplary, Assarsson said. “T-Mobile Park is one of the best built structures in Seattle,” she said. “Throughout the years we've helped the Mariners with repairs, just like any other 20-year-old building would need. It is truly a classic ballpark, with the visible structural steel embraced in the overall ballpark design.”

    Working with the Mariners' schedule on a unique list of improvements has tasked Skanska to show ingenuity, she said. “From a project perspective, I love the creativity that is needed to accomplish our goals. Every project, problem and solution are unique, because it's a ballpark. The Mariners are fully utilizing and trusting Skanska's resources and expertise to assist in coordination and procurement of everything from managing the design to procuring small wares, such as plates and napkins, and coordination of the furniture, fixtures and equipment.

    “The work on T-Mobile Park,” Assarsson added, “is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I know will have a positive impact for fans and our city.”

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