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Dodger Stadium Upgrade Features New Sound System, Wi-Fi, Kids Play Areas [Photos]

Team officials hope that a new sound system will help keep noise down for neighbors.

Many Dodger fans were curious when the team hired Janet Marie Smith in July to serve as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development.

Smith, a former Silver Lake resident, had overseen major renovations at historic stadiums in Boston, Baltimore and Atlanta after working on L.A.'s redo of Pershing Square.

Would a make-over come quickly for Dodger Stadium as well?

At a press conference Tuesday, Smith and Dodger President/CEO Stan Kasten confirmed that a $100 million facelift was well underway at the historic stadium.

"The mission of Dodger ownership is to create ways to enhance the experience for all of our fans,'' Kasten said. "Dodger Stadium is a treasured piece of the Los Angeles community, and we will respect that heritage while restoring and enhancing the venue for our fans in the 21st century.

"When the improvements are completed, the stadium will retain its classic look, but it will have a more comfortable feel.''

Stessing a "Focus on Fans," Smith and Kasten outlined a number of improvements that they hope will be completed by Opening Day, April 1.

Perhaps most significantly for Echo Park and Elysian Heights residents is the installation of a new state-of-the-art sound system. New speakers located in sections are intended to minimize echo for fans and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Dodger Stadium will also no longer be a Wi-Fi dead zone. Installation of a wireless Internet network and cellphone towers has already begun.

Other fan-friendly changes include upgraded video screens on scoreboards and expanded restroom capacity--by 62 percent for women.

Rows of chairs are also being removed from each stadium level to allow for wheelchairs and to give fans a place to socialize.

On the field, the vintage clubhouses will be expanded, with additional locker room and training space to be created nearby as well as a batting cage for the visiting team.

Smith also said that the Dodgers are going to dig "into their archives" to create some family-friendly educational experiences.

Play areas where kids can climb on replicas of World Series rings and giant bobbleheads of legendary players are one example.

The Cy Young, Most Valuable Player and other awards garnered by Dodger players over the decades will also be moved out of storage and put on display.

Both Kasten and Smith stressed that these upgrades are only the first phase of changes at the stadium.

They said these particular changes were selected both for their immediate ability to improve fans' experience at the stadium and for their high probability of being completed in time for the 2013 season.

Eric "Cashew" Harding January 09, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Unfortunately, they cancelled the Monster Truck show next month because of it.
Norma Martin January 09, 2013 at 09:21 PM
being a Dodger fan all my life, I am excited to see changes to the stadium this coming season. looking forward to the kids section as well.

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