New Player Development Academy for the Minnesota Twins at Lee County Sports Complex Complete

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Lee County and the Minnesota Twins unveiled yesterday a new, 56,923-square-foot residential Player Development Academy. The new facility will serve the Minnesota Twins year round and is part of $48.5 million in upgrades to the complex, $42.5 million contributed from Lee County, and the remaining $6 million contributed by the Twins, that will be completed in full by February 2015.

“The Twins new Player Development Academy is truly state-of-the-art and will help us create a strong competitive advantage in developing players throughout our Minor and Major League system,” said Bill Smith, Twins Assistant to the President & General Manager. “We are truly thankful for the tremendous partnership that we have developed with Lee County over the past 25 years, and we look forward to continuing our relationship here in Southwest Florida for years to come.”

The three-level Player Development Academy features a first floor common space, full-service dining, meeting rooms, from 10-seat spaces to the 220-seat Champions Hall, classrooms and a game room for players. The facility also includes two floors of residential space to be used by players and staff with 58 total rooms, 54 of which are double occupancy and four are single rooms. The new residential space will provide a more efficient, year-round, multi-discipline training center for players and staff. In addition to the new Player Development Academy, construction on a new practice field is on schedule for completion in August.

“We are excited the Twins are expanding their facility. We hope it’s as exciting for the players who will be staying at the new academy as the improvements for the fans at Hammond Stadium are,” said Lee County Commission Chairman Larry Kiker.

The Player Development Academy is only the third of its kind in in Major League Baseball to provide on-site housing for young professional players, along with communal living spaces to promote education, nutrition, team building and premier training resources.

The first phase of the renovations at Lee County Sports Complex were unveiled in February 2014 and included renovations to the Minor League clubhouse and administrative areas, an agility field, an expanded seating capacity, from 8,000 to 9,300 seats, a new parking lot and the completion of a 360-degree boardwalk and concourse.

The second phase of renovations, scheduled for completion in February 2015, will include upgraded and expanded concourses, improved concessions, renovations to the restrooms, premium seating improvements, the expansion of the clubhouse, a new retail store, new spaces for group seating and renovations to the administrative offices and the media facilities. All of these upgrades will benefit the Twins and their minor league affiliate Fort Myers Miracle.

“The Player Development Academy is an important addition to Lee County Sports Complex for the Twins. While the fan experience and additional upgrades to Hammond Stadium are critical, it was a priority for the team from day one to provide the best resources available to aid in player development,” said Bruce Miller, Principal and Project Manager at Populous. “The Academy accomplishes this and is truly unique – there are very few other MLB teams that have a residential component at their Spring Training complexes, and even fewer who have this much square footage, communal space and amenities. I’m confident the Academy will be a differentiating factor for the Twins.”

The Player Development Academy and renovations at Lee County Sports Complex are designed by Populous, a global sport architecture firm, and construction is being managed by Manhattan Twins Joint Venture, a partnership between Manhattan Construction Company, Chris-Tel Construction and Casey Construction.

 “It was an honor to build a first-of-its-kind Player Development Academy for and with our community,” said Peter Hayden, Manhattan Twins Joint Venture project director. “At the of peak construction we had more than 200 construction workers on site daily. We contracted 80% of phase one with local Lee and Collier County businesses, and are on track to contract 92% of phase two to local businesses.”

To learn more about Lee County Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium, visit www.leeparks.org.

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The Fort Myers Miracle play 34 home games at Hammond Stadium in June and July before moving to JetBlue Park. Some highlights include: Used Car Giveaway on June 5, June 26 and July 11; Youth T-Shirt Giveaway on June 6; Breast Cancer Awareness Night & Fireworks on June 7; Special appearance by Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke) on June 12; Ghostbusters Bobblehead Giveaway on June 27; and, Miracle Cap Giveaway on June 28.  In July, the Miracle celebrate Independence Day with a grand fireworks display after the game on July 5.  Bring your Dog to the Ballpark on July 11 and see the Miracle take on the Dunedin Blue Jays in Zombie jersey’s. Beer, Baseball and Boom happens on July 12 with sampling of 30 craft beers before the game and fireworks postgame and don’t forget the back to school backpack giveaway game for the kids on July 31.  For tickets and information go to miraclebaseball.com or call the Miracle office at (239) 768-4210.

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