Area baseball enthusiasts won’t see any changes prior to first pitch this year, but they can look forward to some upgrades to Avista Stadium during the offseason just in time for 2013.
On Tuesday, Spokane County commissioners were updated on plans to make $2.8 million in improvements to the 54-year-old stadium, which will include an updated look to the concessions area ($987,000) and an expansion of the office area ($796,000) plus work to restrooms, the clubhouse and walkways. A new team shop is also a part of the plans.
Spokane County owns the stadium and is paying for the work through nonvoted bonds. The facility is leased to Brett Sports for use by the Spokane Indians baseball club.
Work won’t actually begin on the upgrades until after the Spokane County Interstate Fair in September. In the meantime, bids will be advertised to do the work in June with an award given to a contractor in August.
Chris Duff, general manager and vice president of the Spokane Indians, said that the partnership with the county has been mutually beneficial over the years.
“The Indians provide affordable family entertainment,” Duff said of the short-season A baseball squad, which has been a farm team of the Texas Rangers since 2003.
“We couldn’t do that without your commitment,” he told the commissioners. “This stadium is a large part of the Spokane community.”
Commissioner Mark Richard returned the compliment, saying “you guys represent a class organization” and that the Indians “put on a tremendous show” each season.
Avista Stadium is already exclusively powered by renewable energy, with most of the power provided by wind. Other renewable sources such as biomass and geothermal are also being used. Avista Utilities, which sponsors the stadium, offers “Buck-A-Block” as an option rate for customers choosing to support alternative renewable energy. Each block, for a dollar a month, covers the premium to purchase 300 kilowatt-hours of new renewable energy.
Also last year, the Spokane Indians unveiled The Depot, a replica train car located just beyond the right-field wall. The depot, inspired by the nearby Union Pacific tracks, can accommodate up to 60 people and includes its own private concession stand.
Season tickets for the 2012 season are now on sale. The Indians open on June 15 against the Vancouver Canadians.
For more information, call 343-6886 or visit www.spokaneindians.com.