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 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -The Kansas City Royals broke ground Wednesday on a $250 million renovation of Kauffman Stadium, which will include a new scoreboard, widened concourses and a team hall of fame.
Owner David Glass, team president Dan Glass, and Royals legend George Brett joined other team and local officials to launch the renovation, turning over shovels of dirt near home plate while a few fans watched from the seats in the lower bowl.
``What a great day this is,'' said David Glass, who will put $25 million toward the project. ``We've waited a long time to get here.''
The majority of the renovation, which will also feature new restaurants and a plaza beyond the famous outfield fountains, will be financed through a sales tax approved by Jackson County voters in April 2006.
On Wednesday, the Royals explained specifics of the new high-definition scoreboard. It will be about four times bigger than the present scoreboard that has sat behind the center field fence since the facility opened as Royals Stadium in 1973.
``Imagine replays, highlights and images that are 100 feet tall,'' said Kevin Uhlich, the Royals' senior vice president for business operations. ``It will be very impressive.''
The new scoreboard is one of several projects scheduled for completion before the Royals play their 2008 home opener on April 8. Construction will continue throughout next summer on the area beyond the outfield.
County executive Mike Sanders pledged the project will be completed ``on time, on budget and as promised.'' The club is responsible for any cost overruns besides its $25 million contribution.
HOK Sport, based in Kansas City, Mo., has designed 14 new professional ballparks in the last 25 years and has four more in the works. The redesign of Kauffman Stadium offers the unique opportunity for employees to enjoy their work.
``We believe it will be the greatest ballpark in America,'' HOK principal architect Earl Santee said. ``It's our ballpark and our team.''
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