Workers Muscle Raw Materials into Spring Training Jewel

January 29, 2013

The new crown jewel of spring training baseball facilities in Arizona is rising from a former City of Mesa golf course with plans to host professional baseball’s storied Chicago Cubs franchise starting next spring.

The Chicago Cubs training facility, when finished, will feature a 15,000 seat ballpark reminiscent of historic Wrigley Field; a state-of-the-art team clubhouse facility; a cluster of top-notch baseball practice fields; pristine youth soccer fields and a sparkling public lake that will boast an exciting new design.

Passers-by the project site at the corner of 8th Street and Dobson Road in Mesa are treated to a daily show of construction progress, as hundreds of workers muscle steel, concrete and other building materials into the shape of a facility that will be the best in Arizona’s Cactus League.

Mesa voters get the credit for the project, approving $84 million in bonds at the ballot box in November, 2010. They also gave the nod to $15 million in related infrastructure improvements to upgrade the park, streets, and water lines among other things to make the project work.

Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that the site was the home to Riverview Golf Course, famous for its large trees and its convenient location in the southeast corner of the region’s Loop 101/Loop 202 freeway interchange.

It was the location and the room to grow the Chicago Cubs brand that attracted the City and team ownership to the site.

And thanks to the efforts of architect Populous and construction manager Hunt Construction Group, it is easy to see how the project will keep the area busy for decades to come.

With each new day of hammering, drilling and smoothing of concrete, the vision of the Cubs future training home is coming closer to life.

The ballpark’s field sunk into the dirt is outlined by concrete walls that will set the stage for exciting home runs. The grass berm, a signature feature of Arizona’s spring training ballparks, starts high in right field and slopes down slightly as it makes its way to the left field corner. The dugouts are outlined and so are the bullpens.

The wall behind home plate will feature a brick inlay reminding fans of the team’s historic ballpark in the Windy City. The wall is there. The bricks are on their way.

The roof structure also is designed to pay compliment to the team’s home field heritage as will the expansive left field building planned to host party decks above a clubhouse and other facilities. Can you say Wrigleyville Rooftops? The inspiration is obvious.

Every piece of the project is now under construction. Workers, a large number of which are Mesa residents, are building six days a week with an eye toward completing the project this fall.

Without a doubt, Chicago Cubs players, spring training fans and Mesa residents are in for a treat when the facilities open for baseball, soccer, fishing and fun in the sun early next year!