Boston is celebrating Fenway Park's 100th anniversary this week. 100 years is a long time when it comes to sports facilities, and Fenway has received a number of much-needed upgrades over the years: Monster seats, a digital video board and renovated bathrooms all come to mind. These changes didn't discount the Fenway magic, but a complete seating change would have damaged the park’s legacy.
After decades of wear and tear, the owners knew it was time for an update, but wanted to keep as many of the now 100-year-old seats in place as possible. For that they went to American Seating, who relied on SolidWorks to help renovate 12,000 seats and maintain Fenway’s authenticity.
By using SolidWorks’ design technology, the original cast iron stayed in place and more than 50% of the original wood remains intact, while springs have been added to help fans move in and out of the park’s tight rows more easily.
Other ballparks have received facelifts over the years, but in the process, changed the actual look of the facility. For example, in 2006 the Los Angeles Dodgers embarked on a multi-year improvement plan for Dodger Stadium. Instead of renovating the seats, the Dodgers introduced a “box” seat concept within the baseline seating area.
Although many people complain about how small and uncomfortable the seats are–they are traditional–Fenway has gone to great lengths to keep the park looking as close to the original as possible. If you’re in the area and would like to see the chairs for yourself, swing by the Fenway Park Open House tomorrow from 9am-7pm.
Happy anniversary, Fenway! Here’s to 100 more years!