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A's offer peek at plans for next spring home

Major upgrades underway for Hohokam Park, new practice facilities in Mesa

Special to

MESA, Ariz. -- State-of-the-art training and workout facilities, a spacious home clubhouse and a distinctively branded complex await the A's next year.

The A's, who are saying farewell to Phoenix Municipal Stadium and the Papago Park training complex in Phoenix, will move to neighboring Mesa and the upgraded Hohokam Park in 2015.

The A's and the remodel construction firm offered a glimpse of the organization's future digs on Thursday.

"Hopefully we'll be doing this someplace else soon," said Ted Polakowski, A's director of Minor League operations and the club's project manager, in reference to the organization's desire to move out of the Coliseum in Oakland.

"This is going to be a whole different game for us," he added, speaking to the differences between the upgraded Mesa facilities and Phoenix Muni, the oldest ballpark in the Cactus League. "We have a lot of history in Phoenix, but sometimes it's time to move on to something different."

Much of the $21 million project price tag is for the 55,000-square-foot Fitch Park Training Facility, a five-minute drive from Hohokam. Fitch Park will be the Minor League system's year-round home and will feature hydrotherapy pools, including one with a treadmill, a state-of-the-art weight room and an agility field -- all adjacent to four lush fields.

"This will put the A's in the top half of the Cactus League," said project architect Jason Boyer of Gensler design firm.

Hohokam Park, home to the Cubs from 1979-2013, also is undergoing upgrades to its seating bowl, patio areas, home clubhouse and scoreboard. Nearly all aspects of Hohokam Park, which was freed up when the Cubs moved to a new complex this year, will be given an Athletics feel, from color schemes and logos to the team's history.

"Green and gold will brand the stadium throughout," Boyer said. "Everything will be consistently branded with an Athletics vibe."

The addition of group seating and covered-patio areas will drop the overall capacity from 13,000 to 10,500.

Mesa is footing the bill for the first $17.5 million of the project; the A's will cover the rest. The original budget was set at $20 million.

The A's purposely held back on some upgrades, Polakowski said.

"We want to be able to add to the fan experience over the next five to 10 years," he said.

The A's -- who trained at nearby Rendezvous Park from 1971-77 during their run to three straight World Series titles (1972-74) -- will move into both facilities by the end of year, just in time to prepare for 2015 Spring Training.

"A few short months and it'll be refreshed and ready to go," Boyer said.

Chris Gabel is a contributor to

Oakland Athletics