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Dodger Stadium construction continues in preparation for opening day

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An update on the renovations, three weeks from opening day

Construction in and around the left field pavilion at Dodger Stadium, March 3, 2020.
Photo: Eric Stephen

LOS ANGELES — The construction is going nearly around the clock at Dodger Stadium as well as off site, with the $100 million renovations set to be ready for opening day, just over three weeks away.

“I’m confident we will be open, and it will be safe and fun for our fans to be here, but we still have a ‘honey do’ list,” said Janet Marie Smith, the Dodgers senior vice president of planning and development. “It’s not an option not to open. I know that having the competent architects, engineers, and contractors that we do, I do feel confident that we’ll have 56,000 fans here on March 26.”

The renovations, announced last season in preparation for the Dodgers hosting the All-Star Game for the first time in 40 years this July, include several new restaurants, fan areas, entertainment and kid centers, in addition to an upgraded sound system and brand new center field plaza behind the pavilions. Five elevators and four escalators are being added in the outfield, allowing fans to traverse all around the stadium on any level.

“The idea is that you can enter any gate with any ticket, and once you’re inside you can move around using the elevators, escalators, stairs, bridges, whatever suits you,” Smith said Tuesday.

There’s a chance not every single new feature will be fully ready for opening day, but in terms of functionality for baseball, Dodger Stadium is expected ready for the Dodgers to host the Giants for a three-game series March 26-28.

“Our priorities are anything field-facing,” Smith said. “Our No. 1 thing is It has to be ready for baseball.”

To get the stadium ready in just over three weeks, construction crews are working from roughly 4 a.m. to midnight every day, with each of the day’s two shifts averaging roughly 120 workers at a time.

Part of the reason the stadium currently has an unfinished feel is that several additions are being constructed off site, including six new food buildings, three food trucks, and the SportsNet LA stage in center field for pre- and post-game shows. But the plan is for the photo on the left in three weeks to look like the photo on the right:

Construction in the center field plaza behind the left field pavilion at Dodger Stadium, March 3, 2020.
Photo: Eric Stephen
A rendering of the center field plaza behind the left field pavilion at Dodger Stadium (opposite angle)
Rendering: Los Angeles Dodgers

For the two Freeway Series games the Dodgers host on March 23-24, the center field plaza and pavilion will be closed with construction work still ongoing. Not cranes, per se, but putting the finishing touches on the various new additions to the 58-year-old stadium.

“We will not be using the pavilion or center field plaza for the exhibition games earlier in the week,” Smith said. “Those are work days for us. You’ll be able to enjoy baseball, and watch what it means to see 100+ workers out there still putting things together.

“To you it may look like two extra days, but to us it’s four days because we work in two shifts.”

It’s really three extra days given the off day on March 25, which might be just the time they need to get everything done in time for opening day. But in the interim it might be fun to see a construction worker or two get a home run ball as a souvenir for their hard work during the two exhibition games.

Here are some other photos from Dodger Stadium during construction: