The clock is ticking in Lakeland at Joker Marchant Stadium, where later this week the Detroit Tigers will move into their spring home.
But the facility remains an active construction site.
Construction crews are in the finishing stages of a $48 million renovation project that brings some draw-dropping features for both players and the fans.
“Look at this view. Isn’t this cool,” said Bob Donahay, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Lakeland.
The crew of about 250 is working around the clock to finish in time for the first spring game scheduled for February 24th.
“It’s pushed to the wire, but there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll be 100 percent come opening day,” Donahay said.
The new facility brings Tiger Town to a whole new level when it comes to spring training facilities in Florida.
Behind the scenes, the state of the art facility looks part clubhouse part luxury resort with hot tubs, cold tubs, and everything in between for the all important player rehab.
“Here’s what’s really cool, this submersible treadmill,” Donahay said as he showed us around the new player development building.
The fans should be just as excited with newly named Publix Field, equipped with more shade than ever before and a 360-degree walkway so fans can mingle from one area to the next.
The scoreboard is among the biggest in the state, sitting high atop the popular outfield berm.
The crew has their work cut out for them. They literally can’t afford to miss the deadline.
Per the contract with the team, it will cost the City of Lakeland $200 thousand per missed game if the facility isn’t ready.
“Everybody was committed since day one to make this happen,” Donahay said. “And where we are right now is just amazing.
Pitchers and catchers report to Lakeland in two weeks and the first game is less than a month away.
The rainy summer slowed the project down, but the people in charge don’t seemed fazed.
“There’s no doubt in my mind,” he said.