Officials: El Paso stadium will be ready in time

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Associated Press

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 5:33 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 21 at 5:33 AM

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — With barely a week to go, officials are promising that El Paso's new $72 million downtown stadium will be ready before the minor league baseball team's home opener.

A temporary certificate of occupancy has been issued for Southwest University Park, home of the Chihuahuas, a Triple-A San Diego Padres affiliate. An official certificate won't be given, however, until two three-story buildings beyond right field are completed, The El Paso Times reported (http://bit.ly/1jWv3qd ) Sunday.

Other things still missing include netting behind home plate and furniture in certain parts of the stadium, as well as assorted decorations. One kitchen also needs finishing.

The Chihuahuas replaced the El Paso Diablos and are part of the Pacific Coast League. They are scheduled to play their first game in the 9,000-seat park against Fresno on April 28.

"We are sliding into home plate," said project manager Alan Shubert, who said the code inspection is up-to-date and crews have had daily contact with fire marshals. "We are going to be playing baseball on April 28."

Shubert said he didn't know when the final permits would be obtained but added: "We're in good shape."

At least one onlooker, though, wasn't convinced.

"The inside looks like it's almost ready, but other than that, it looks like too much construction left," Rogelio Saenz said as he watched construction workers Friday from nearby Cleveland Square Park.

The Chihuahuas moved their administrative offices into the ballpark Saturday, and team General Manager Brad Taylor said the club will be working from the stadium Monday.

"At this point, we are tightening the screws and tidying up the place," Taylor said.

Nearly all of the seats have been installed and the video scoreboard is already operational. Taylor said the locker rooms for both teams are finished, food carts with Chihuahua logos are ready and the public address system is working.

"I'm used to hearing sawing and other construction sounds, so it was a relief to hear music going through the PA system," Taylor said.

The most glaring incompletions are a pair of buildings just outside the stadium that will host restaurants and pavilions. As of Friday, one was still missing a roof, and both were missing windows and had incomplete facades.

"The main building is very close to being finished," Shubert said. "The right-field buildings are a little behind that, but we still expect them to be finished in time."

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Information from: El Paso Times, http://www.elpasotimes.com

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