Southwest University Park

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Southwest University Park
Southwest University Park.png
Southwest University Park.jpg
The field in August 2014
Full nameSouthwest University Park [1]
Location1 Ballpark Plaza
El Paso, Texas
United States
Coordinates31°45′32″N 106°29′35″W / 31.759°N 106.493°W / 31.759; -106.493Coordinates: 31°45′32″N 106°29′35″W / 31.759°N 106.493°W / 31.759; -106.493
Public transitEl Paso Streetcar
OwnerCity of El Paso
OperatorMountainStar Sports Group
Capacity7,500 (fixed seating)
9,500–10,000 (plus additional seating)[8]
Field sizeLeft field: 322 ft (98 m)
Left-center field: 392 ft (119 m)
Center field: 406 ft (124 m)
Right-center field: 384 ft (117 m)
Right field: 322 ft (98 m)[8]
Construction
Broke groundMay 30, 2013[2]
OpenedApril 28, 2014[3]
Construction cost$72 million[4]
ArchitectPopulous
MNK Architects, Inc.[5]
Project managerInternational Facilities Group, LLC[7]
Structural engineerWalter P Moore[5]
Services engineerHenderson Engineers, Inc.[5]
General contractorC. F. Jordan/Hunt[6]
Tenants
El Paso Chihuahuas (PCL) 2014–present
El Paso Locomotive FC (USLC) 2019–present

Southwest University Park is a baseball stadium in El Paso, Texas. Primarily used for Minor League Baseball, it is the home of the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Opened in 2014, the facility has an official capacity of 9,500, with 7,500 fixed seats with the rest being berm and party deck standing room sections.[2][8]

The name "Southwest University" is applied as a corporate sponsor, and not as the home stadium of the University (which has no intercollegiate athletics program; the university is a for-profit virtual college).[9] Southwest University Park was named as the best new ball park in 2014 by Ballpark Digest.[10] The elevation of the playing field is approximately 3,750 feet (1,140 m) above sea level.

History[edit]

The complex is situated upon the site of El Paso's former City Hall, which was demolished by implosion on April 14, 2013, to make way for the stadium.[11] Former El Paso Mayor Ray Salazar had filed a 2013 lawsuit to stop the demolition of the old City Hall, alleging the misuse of public funds by city officials, but the lawsuit was dismissed in court.[12][13]

Ground for the ballpark was broken on May 30, 2013 with 300 people attending the event, including members of MountainStar Sports Group, the ownership group of the El Paso Pacific Coast League team, Pat O'Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, and City Representatives Ann Morgan Lilly, Susie Byrd, Cortney Niland, and Steve Ortega.[14]

On March 5, 2014, it was announced that the team had signed a 20-year naming rights deal for the ballpark with Southwest University, an El Paso based business and technical school known until 2012 as Southwest Career College.[9][15] (Southwest University is not the same institution as the University of the Southwest located in Hobbs, New Mexico.)

In January 2017, Southwest University Park was selected as the host site for the 32nd Triple-A All-Star Game, to be played in July 2019.[16]

In August 2018, Southwest University Park was awarded the title of "Best View in the Minors" by Minor League Baseball fans. The El Paso park topped Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Altoona Curve, and Modern Woodmen Park, home of the Quad Cities River Bandits, in the voting.[17]

Features[edit]

The design theme is based on the Union Depot and incorporates architectural details found in the region's historic buildings, such as the Kress Building in Downtown El Paso. It also pays tribute to the city's baseball history through various forms of art.[18]

Some of the notable features of the ballpark include:

  • A 360 concourse
  • 46,000 square feet of floor space on the concourse level
  • 24 luxury suites
  • 500 club seats in the Dugout Club, Concourse Club and WestStar Bank Club
  • Team office space and retail store
  • Party decks/zones
  • Multiple restaurants and food stands
  • Kids Zone
  • Outfield seating
  • Diversified food options

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Officials Present Southwest University Park" (Press release). Minor League Baseball. March 5, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ramirez, Cindy (May 29, 2013). "Downtown El Paso Ballpark Groundbreaking Today". El Paso Times. Retrieved February 8, 2020 – via Milb.com.
  3. ^ "El Paso home opener pushed back". El Paso Chihuahuas. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Bracamontes, Aaron (April 20, 2014). "Officials Promise Southwest University Park Will Be Ready". El Paso Times. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Ballpark Concept Videos Added to City's Website". El Paso Development News. December 2, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  6. ^ Ramirez, Cindy (January 6, 2013). "El Paso City Council to Award Baseball Stadium Contract". El Paso Times. Archived from the original on August 27, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  7. ^ Ramirez, Cindy (December 13, 2012). "El Paso City Council Approves Consulting Contract for Downtown Ballpark". El Paso Times. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c "Ballpark Guidelines". El Paso Chihuahuas. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Officials Present Southwest University Park". El Paso Chihuahuas. March 5, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  10. ^ Reichard, Kevin (November 14, 2014). "2014 Best New Ballpark: Southwest University Park". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  11. ^ Ramirez, Cindy (June 14, 2013). "Downtown El Paso Ballpark Investors Want to Pay $12.1M More Toward Stadium". El Paso Times. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  12. ^ Ramirez, Cindy (April 28, 2016). "Former Mayor Ray Salazar dies at 85". El Paso Times. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  13. ^ "Editorial: Farewell to El Paso Mayor Ray Salazar". El Paso Times. May 2, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  14. ^ Ramirez, Cindy (May 30, 2013). "300 Celebrate as Downtown El Paso Ballpark Breaks Ground". El Paso Times. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  15. ^ Borunda, Daniel (March 6, 2014). "El Paso Chihuahuas ballpark to be named Southwest University Park". El Paso Times.
  16. ^ "All-star game coming to Southwest University Park". El Paso Inc. January 30, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  17. ^ "THE BEST View in the Minors (MiLB) - Vote Now!". TheBallparkGuide.com. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  18. ^ Ramirez, Cindy (January 31, 2013). "El Paso Ballpark Will Reflect Union Depot Design". El Paso Times. Retrieved August 27, 2013.

External links[edit]