The Padres are “about to become baseball’s undisputed leader in the solar standings,” as the team has begun construction at Petco Park on what will be the “largest solar power system” in MLB, according to Rob Nikolewski of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The team's facility will be a "336,520-watt project comprised of 716 high-efficiency, 470-watt solar modules expected to produce more than 12 million kilowatt-hours over the next 25 years.” While seven other MLB teams have solar facilities, Padres officials said that the club's solar array "will be larger than all the other teams’ facilities combined.” Workers from San Diego-based Sullivan Solar Power “began installing the modules earlier this week” and the Padres anticipate the project will be done by Opening Day on March 29. The panels “will be mounted on the park’s roof, and one-quarter of the panels will hang over the stadium’s high canopy." More than a mile of electrical conductors "will send solar electricity to the park’s distribution center.” The project will cost the team about $1M, but officials “predicted the team will save enough money from a combination of lower electricity bills and renewable tax credits that the project will pay for itself in about six or seven years.” The solar project is not the only new addition to Petco Park this season, as a new $2M video board is being placed over the right field seats (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/18).
Part of the Univ. of Minnesota's Athletes Village opened this month, and UM wanted a "'wow factor' to capture recruits’ imagination," according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The main entrance to the village has "nine scoreboard-sized video screens lining the wall, flashing an endless loop" of highlights. The new facilities, which includes five buildings, feature "plenty of Minnesota-inspired charms." But what coaches and players "talk about most is how functional the village is, how efficient it will make them." The new indoor football building is "big enough to swallow the old one whole." The football weight room "measures 16,000 square feet, or about 10,000 more than the old one." Two of the three new buildings are "dedicated to football: the indoor practice field and the football performance center." Combined with the two existing buildings, the Athletes Village "adds 338,000 square feet of new building space to the department." With only eight study rooms in the old academic center, the "new academic center has 34 study rooms." So far, UM has raised about $105M toward this $166M phase of the project, and $120M toward the full $190M Athletes Village project, which "includes a new track that opens this fall" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/17).
HEAR THE BUZZ: In Atlanta, Ken Sugiura noted Georgia Tech has begun its locker-room renovation, a $4.5M project that will "modernize the space underneath the north stands of Bobby Dodd Stadium." The project is being "funded entirely by a gift from an anonymous donor." Each of the 116 football lockers will have a "ventilation and drying system as well as charging stations for laptops, tablets and phones." The project is "scheduled to be completed before the team opens preseason camp in August" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/17).