- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Online exclusive: updated 2:17 p.m.

District Mayor Anthony A. Williams today revealed the design of a ballpark for the Washington Nationals on the Anacostia Waterfront, giving baseball fans their first glimpse of the team’s new home.

The ballpark, scheduled to open in 2008, features a contemporary design that includes large amounts of steel and glass and bucks the trend of recent “retro” style stadiums built in other cites.

The ballpark was designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK) of Kansas City, Mo., along with D.C.-based architects Devrouax and Purnell. It will be built by a team led by Clark Construction of Bethesda, under the supervision of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission.

Joseph Spear, the senior founding partner of HOK and the lead architect on the project, said the goal was to build a stadium that would not be replicated anywhere else.

“What we understood when we were retained by [the sports commission] was that you all were looking for something new,” Mr. Spear said. “You were looking for something fresh. You were looking for something exciting and unique to Washington, D.C.”

The stadium will be located at the intersection of South Capitol and M streets, SE, about a block from the Anacostia River. It will face north, giving most fans in the upper deck a view of the U.S. Capitol dome.

The stadium will have 41,000 seats, including 22,000 in the lower bowl, more than most ballparks. The park will offer 2,500 club seats and 1,112 suite seats, including 1,800 seats with access to an exclusive indoor restaurant and bar.

The dimensions of the field will be similar to those at RFK Memorial Stadium.

A home run must travel 335 feet to the right field foul pole, 370 feet to the right field power alley, 409 feet to dead center, 377 feet to the left field power alley and 322 field to the left field foul pole.

Nationals President Tony Tavares said the team requested the dimensions be similar to those at RFK because that stadium is a pitchers park. However, he said the ball should travel farther at the new park because the design allows for more airflow.

The playing field will be located 24 feet below street level, and all of the concourses to the stadium will offer views of it. One large concourse in the outfield will remain open on non-game days to allow visitors access to a restaurant and bar.

There will also be 22,000 square feet set aside for games and activities for children. The design also calls for street-level retail on the outside of the stadium.

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