Team selected to develop, build new stadium

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The Wichita City Council picked the developers it hopes will deliver a home run for the future of baseball in the city. The decision comes as demolition and removal of debris is nearly complete at the site of the old Lawrence Dumont Stadium.

The council picked a team recommended last week including JE Dunn Construction, EBY Construction, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, DLR Group and Professional Engineering Consultants.

“There’s 24 hours in a day,” said Scott Sherry with JE Dunn Construction. “The first thing we need to do is site the ballpark. Locate where home plate is going to be. And we anticipate groundbreaking being roughly the middle of February.

That’s not a lot of time for the stadium construction but both the city and the companies selected are confident they can achieve it.

“There are a lot of steps we’re going to go through to really drill down to what’s important,” said Don Barnum with DLR Group.

Managers for the incoming New Orleans Baby Cakes said they looked at designs released by all of the companies vying for the job. Majority Owner Lou Schwechheimer said by phone Tuesday he found all proposals impressive, but said the team selected included factors for the heart of the game.

“They have tremendous local, ties, loyalties to Wichita,” he said. “Incredible vision, passion for what the city is and what it can be.”

As city leaders have done, Schwechheimer too talked about the value the stadium will have to the city outside of just baseball. He added that the facility could be a venue for other entertainment events throughout the year.

The team said the sketches released by architects and the City of Wichita back in September were a good guide though changes were likely to be made.

Homeowners and business owners had expressed concern about the future of McLean Boulevard, whether it would still exist after the stadium is built. Discussions have happened in the city regarding it’s future as a four-lane road, or whether traffic low would be diverted.

“No final decisions, we anticipate McLean will be able to go through, we anticipate it will be more of a pedestrian friendly instead of higher speed,” Barnum said.

The next meeting with the development and building team happens with city officials next week.

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