Wichita has a new stadium design out to the public. But some on the design board asked for a more modern look.
With about 400 days to opening day for the new stadium, city leaders maintain they are going to make the deadline.
“We will not miss our deadlines,” said Wichita Mayor, Jeff Longwell on Thursday. “There are some critical things we need to do that will still allow the community to weigh in even as we are starting to dig the foundations and so one of the critical timelines is to make sure the field is placed where it needs to be placed.”
Mayor Longwell is addressing concerns brought by some on the civic design board who have asked for an updated set of renderings on the stadium to reflect a more modern look.
City council member Jeff Blubaugh is one of three city leaders on the design team. Blubaugh says he has heard the concerns about the stadium design plans not looking more modern. He also says they are listening and they will also meet the deadline.
“We want something that’s going to make a good transition with Delano. We’ve got that rustic, brick look from Delano. We want to transition that and a lot of the feedback I’ve gotten are with comparable stadiums that are maybe three or four hundred million dollars. We’re only spending $80 Million on this,” said Blubaugh. “We’re not in that market… but we will have some wow factor. It’s going to be something to be excited about.”
Blubaugh says he is meeting biweekly with the design team. He feels confident the team can get an updated design to the design board soon, and still be on schedule to make the deadline for a spring 2020 opening day.
“I feel confident,” said Blubaugh. “They’re (design team) going hard at it and I think it comes up for council vote Feb 12th. So it’s coming up real close.”
Blubaugh says they are taking feedback from both the design council and the public and taking notes and putting thoughts into different groups for the design team. Both Blubaugh and the Mayor say, yes, they are under deadline but they want to get it done right.
“And so we will get it right but more importantly we will get it right and allow the community to weigh in because it’s their ballpark,” said Longwell. “It’s our community gathering place. I embrace the chance to pause and allow the community input.”
Design plans will go back to the design board which will make a recommendation to the city council. The council will then vote.
Mayor Longwell says the design plans for some of the architecture of the stadium can still change after they begin to turn dirt for the stadium foundations.