Cubs' $13.5M bleacher expansion on target for opening day

CBS wire reports

CHICAGO -- A $13.5 million bleacher expansion project at Wrigley Field is on schedule to be completed by opening day and will add about 1,800 seats to the second oldest ballpark in the major leagues.

The expansion will give the Chicago Cubs' home a seating capacity of just more than 41,000, said Mark McGuire, the team's vice president of business operations. McGuire said the look of the neighborhood park, surrounded by restaurants and bars, would not change drastically.

"We have high confidence it will be really well received," he said Wednesday.

Only Boston's Fenway Park, opened in 1912, is older than Wrigley, which was built in 1914.

Most of the new seats will be near the foul poles. And the top of the bleacher section will be more elevated.

Of the 1,800 new seats, about 250 along the right-field foul pole will be designated as bleacher boxes with seat backs and will cost $60 per game. The highest price for a regular bleacher seat will be $40.

Construction crews are putting up a new exterior wall, trying to use as much brick as possible from an original one that was knocked down. There still will be ivy on the inside wall, and the Cubs hope to grow it on the outer wall, too.

The new-look area will include a walkway from foul pole to foul pole. There will be a chain-link fence near the right field pole that will allow those outside the park to see the field, although McGuire said it probably would be covered by a screen on game days.

The area beyond center field also will be transformed. Instead of a forest of juniper bushes, where many home runs disappear, there will be three rows of bushes and a lounge with a capacity of 75-100. The new bleachers could obstruct the view of rooftop seats that surround the park.

The Associated Press News Service

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