Since it opened in 1960, the basic configuration of Cheney Stadium changed little, except for the seating areas and some cosmetic improvements. This spring, the team’s ownership, Schlegel Sports of Texas, signed a 30-year lease with the city, assuring that the franchise will be in Tacoma for many years to come. Tacoma City Council approved a bond to finance the renovation of the venerable stadium. Shortly after the Rainiers played their final home game of the regular season, construction crews began demolition of the concrete superstructure and the buildings in the concourse.
Built in just over 100 days in 1960, the cost of the original stadium was $940,000. Current renovations to the stadium will run approximately $26 million.
As the year ends the project is right on schedule for time and budget. Brick walls in the concourse outline where larger concession buildings and a new gift shop will stand. The concrete floors and some of the roof timbers are in place for the three-story office, suites and press box configuration. The offices on the second level and the Summit Club on the third floor both have views of Mt. Rainier. Sixteen suites are located on the second and third levels.
The right field bleachers are being replaced by a grass berm. A new Dug Out Club will provide a ground level view from behind home plate. The home team’s dug out is now on the third base side of the field, with the visitors moving to the first base dug out. Both teams’ clubhouses have been renovated and will provide better conditions for the players who spend half of each season there. The bullpens for both teams will be moved to an area along the left field fence, which is being lowered to eight feet.
And once the renovations are complete the statue of Ben Cheney will be back in its seat above the walkway near home plate. The seats around the statue are all that remain from the original ones from Seals Stadium in San Francisco.