MANCHESTER, NH – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats held a media splash on Thursday to display for the first time publicly their plans for the future of Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Mayor Ted Gatsas was among those who turned out for the big reveal. He said the city had recently concluded negotiations of a long-term lease with the Fisher Cats. “They’re going to be here a long time,” he said, adding that he was “very excited” for the renovations.
According to Adam Wagner of Market Square Architects in Portsmouth, the stadium’s entrance, above the stairs from the parking lot, “a pretty barren concourse level as it stands right now” will be “completely transformed.” Additions will include a fixed stage with a permanent audio-visual system in place for live streaming of games as well as for live music.
A small games area will be added to this space, with cornhole and washers, “something to really activate the space,” said Wagner. This previously modest section of the stadium will also be adorned with its own tiki bar.
The other major change announced is to the picnic area in front of the Sam Adams Bar & Grill. This bar, which is out by left field next to the Hilton Hotel, currently hosts rows of picnic tables on the deck overlooking the field from behind third base. The picnic tables will be moved out, Wagner announced, and swapped for tiered swivel seating facing the stadium. A rock waterfall will be installed atop the main stairway, designed by Stonemakers of Merrimack, which leads to the Samuel Adams Bar & Grill. The in-stadium restaurant will fully open its west wall to provide an open-air pathway to the new patio.
Renovations will cost around $1 million, to be paid for by NH Triple Play, a Limited Liability Company which owns the trademark to the Fisher Cats. However, the timing of construction was a concern at a recent meeting of Manchester’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
Fisher Cats President Mike Ramshaw wrote in a letter to the city clerk that he would be appearing before the Board on February 7, “as a courtesy… to review and approve the proposed project before we proceed with the work.”
During a discussion with Ward 5 Alderman Anthony Sapienza over who would pay for any adjustments or fixes that needed to be made to the renovations should they be necessary, the board learned that the Fisher Cats had already started construction prior to the meeting.
NH Triple Play was well within their legal rights to begin construction before the meeting, based on existing contract language, to which Mayor Gatsas remarked, “what choice do we have, if they’ve already started construction?”
Alderman Sapienza cited previous liability issues with sprinkler system installation at Delta Dental Stadium as the reason for his questioning.
Daryl Luter of Fulcrum Associates, the main construction company tasked with the renovations, said at the Feb. 16 media event that, “all of the procurement is complete, we’re probably up to the 20 percent mark.” Luter added that construction had begun two weeks prior, a week before the meeting with the Aldermen and Mayor.
The renovations are set to be completed by opening day of the Fisher Cats’ 2017 season, on April 6. “We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Wagner said.
Click here for ticket information.