CHS Field was named Best New Ballpark of 2015 and recognized for its unique design, inviting atmosphere, and amazing addition to the historic Lowertown area of downtown St. Paul by Ballpark Digest in front of a full crowd of proud fans at the St. Paul Saints Sept. 5 home game.
At the top of the second inning, Ballpark Digest publisher Levin Reichard presented the award to Derek Sharrer, St. Paul Saints executive vice president; Tom Whaley, St. Paul Saints vice president; Lani Jordan, CHS director, Corporate Communications; Mark Maghrak, Ryan Companies team leader; and architect Julie Snow of Julie Snow Architects.
“As the ballpark’s naming rights partner, we were thrilled to hear about the award. CHS has deep community roots and ties to the St. Paul area. This was a great opportunity to build CHS brand awareness and to build pride in current and future CHS employees,” says Jordan. “We’re proud to be a part of a project that brings the community together and renews a sense of pride in the area."
Ballpark Digest, a leading baseball industry internet site, recognizes the very best of the business each year with its annual awards. From Team of the Year and Executive of the Year, to Best Marketing Campaign and Best New Food Item, collegiate and professional baseball organizations are recognized and honored. In 2010, Target Field located in Minneapolis and home to the Minnesota Twins, was also awarded Best New Ballpark by Ballpark Digest.
For the first time, fans were called on to weigh-in and indicate their favorite Best New Ballpark exclusively for this particular category. Online polling took place during a two week period beginning in mid-August with fans selecting one of the three new ballparks up for consideration: CHS Field home to the St. Paul Saints, First Tennessee Park home to the Nashville Sounds, and Monongalia County Ballpark home to the West Virginia Black Bears and the West Virginia University Mountaineers.
“With its modern design and an obsessive attention to detail, CHS Field immediately became one of the most noteworthy ballparks in all of baseball when the doors opened for the 2015 season,” explains Reichard.
Designed by Ryan Companies, Julie Snow Architects and AECOM, CHS Field used the urban landscape to blend-in with the Lowertown area. The Western Red Cedar wood soffit and black pillars that greet fans as they enter the ballpark are similar to what you might see inside Lowertown lofts, and provide a strong visual design element across the concourse to reflect the ballpark’s downtown location. In tandem, the Treasure Island grass berm located in left field along The Lawn offers a more natural look and feel that mirrors the Bruce Vento Nature Preserve located just beyond the ballpark. With a large art contingent in the Lowertown area, The Gallery located behind home plate also showcases the artwork of various local artists each night.
In an effort to make CHS Field the Greenest Ballpark in America, the St. Paul Saints partnered with Ecolab and incorporated recycling, solar power and water conservation sustainability components into the design and operation of this ballpark from the get-go to make this a reality. CHS Field utilizes recycling and composting to ensure a zero waste facility, and a 27,000 gallon cistern located behind the centerfield concourse to capture rainwater used for fixture flushing and playing field irrigation. CHS Field has also gone solar with one of the largest arrays of solar panels currently found in professional sport stadiums that supplies 12% of the ballpark’s energy demand and serves as a shade pavilion in The Lawn group sales area.
"Every seat puts you close to the action" says CHS Community Sports Branding Manager Jim Poulter. With the ballpark’s 360-degree concourse, fans can walk around the entirety of the ballpark and get a variety of unique views that include the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary to the east, the sandstone bluffs along the Mississippi River to the south, and the downtown St. Paul skyline to the west.
In true St. Paul Saints tradition, providing a fun casual atmosphere and offering a range of seating options contributed to the appeal and success of CHS Field with more than 400,000 fans attending games during it's first season. The Treasure Island Berm located in left field is a place where fans can bring blankets, lay back and take-in a game for just $5. In addition to the Saint Paul Saints’ tradition of keeping fans engaged with its pig mascot, barber’s chair haircuts and special theme-based events, upscale food and craft beer options were added to the scene. The Beer Dabbler Craft Beer Corner located in left field, offers 32 different kinds of craft beers, many of them locally brewed, and is often packed during games.
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