Crews set to install new seating at Bradenton's McKechnie Field

nwilliams@bradenton.comJanuary 14, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Out with the old and in with the old school.

Within the week, new seats, though reflective of an older era of baseball, will arrive and be installed inside the 90-year-old McKenchnie Field ballpark in Bradenton.

New seating is part of a $10 million renovation of the ballpark, which has been the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1969.

On Monday, construction crews installed the framing for the future seats, which will be traditional baseball flip-up chairs. Trevor Gooby, the Pirates' director of Florida Operations, said the chairs will arrive later this week or by early next week.

The infield seats have all been removed. Additional seating in the outfield will swell McKechnie Field's capacity from 6,500 to 8,500.

Completion of the renovation project is slated for mid-February, in time for the Pirates' intrasquad game on Feb. 22.

Upgrades at the facility, also the home stadium for the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates' high-Single A affiliate, include a 19,000-square-foot wooden boardwalk with tiki bar, covered bleacher seats, a building in centerfield that includes a concession stand, and a luxury, two-level party deck in left field that accommodates up to 80 people. The scoreboard has been moved to a new location on the field and the pitchers' bullpens, which used to run along the first and third-base lines, will now be positioned along the outfield walls in right and left fields.

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