Scenically nestled in downtown Atlanta, Russ Chandler Stadium provides a brilliant backdrop for college baseball and offers one of the best atmospheres for the game in the country.
Russ Chandler Stadium, the home of Georgia Tech baseball for nearly 80 years, has a long and storied history from its original construction in 1930 with funds from Tech's 1929 appearance in the Rose Bowl game to its use as a training facility for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The facility underwent a complete reconstruction for the 2002 season in less than eight months at a cost of $9.7 million, making Russ Chandler Stadium one of the top collegiate ballparks in America.
With a seating capacity of 4,157, Georgia Tech's baseball facility more than doubled in size from the previous stadium. Russ Chandler Stadium features approximately 1,100 chairback seats behind the home plate area in addition to nearly 3,000 bleacher seats. Space is available down the left field line for future expansion that would bring the capacity to over 5,000.
The facility includes locker rooms for both Georgia Tech and the visiting team, as well as one for the umpires. Tech's locker room area, which has moved to the third base side of the stadium, includes a player's lounge with a large-screen television, a video room where players and coaches can break down game film, and a separate locker area for the coaching staff. A state-of-the-art athletic training room is adjacent to the Tech locker room in addition to a sizeable weight room and workout facility.
The stadium features three covered batting cages and pitching mounds. One is located underneath the grandstand, while an enclosed area above the left field grandstand houses two additional cages and mounds.
A wide concourse and plaza area is located at the main entrance to the stadium behind third base. Ticket booths, concession stands and restrooms are now located on both the first base and third base sides of the stadium.
Above the grandstand is the press level, which includes ample space for the writers and broadcasters who cover Tech's nationally-ranked program. The main press box has seating for more than 30, while three auxiliary booths can accommodate television and radio crews.
Two enclosed luxury suites are located to one side of the press box, while six open-air, covered suites are on the other side of the press area.
The 2002 reconstruction project also included replacing the playing field with a new sand-profile, under-drained natural turf surface that includes an irrigation system.
In the process of the reconstruction, home plate was moved outward 20 feet and the field was rotated slightly clockwise. A 10-foot outfield wall with padding was built. Rotating the field allowed for additional room in left field, and the dimensions now stand at 328 feet down the left field line, 391 in left center field, 400 to straight away center field, 353 to right center, and 334 down the right field line. The deepest part of the ballpark measures 409 feet just to the left of center field.
The bullpens moved outside the playing field area. The dugouts were enlarged and allow for ample room for the two teams. Included at the end of the dugouts are camera wells for video and still photographers.
The reconstruction project also included new lights, which meet AAA baseball standards, as well as a new scoreboard, video board and sound system.
The stadium was designed by the architectural firm of HOK, which also designed Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Jacobs Field in Cleveland and AT&T Park in San Francisco among others. The joint venture of Carter & Associates and Turner Construction handled the construction of the project.
Records at the Turnstiles
In 2002, the Yellow Jackets enjoyed a record-setting season with attendance. Tech set a Chandler Stadium regular season single game attendance record when 4,264 watched the Yellow Jackets defeat Georgia, 9-1 on March 27. Tech attracted over 15,000 fans for its games in the NCAA Atlanta Regional and Super Regional. The Yellow Jackets opened the new stadium with 22 straight victories and went 36-4 for the season on their home field.
The 2003 season proved to be just as popular with the fans, as the Yellow Jackets attracted six of the school's 11 largest single-game crowds. A three-game record 10,655 fans attended Tech's series with Florida State in May, and the Yellow Jackets had 14 games with 2,000 or more fans. Tech again drew record attendance numbers during the 2004 season, averaging a school-record 1,878 fans per game, and averaged 1,760 fans per game in 2005. In 2006, the Yellow Jackets averaged 1,765 fans per game at RCS.
In 2000, hosting a regional for the first time since 1993, Tech attracted standing-room-only crowds over a two weekend stretch. A school-record 4,468 fans watched the Jackets host Southern California in the opening game of the Super Regional, and a two-game total of 8,661 fans attended the series. In the NCAA Atlanta Regional, a three-game record total of 10,435 people attended Tech's games against Georgia Southern and Stetson.
Russ Chandler Stadium has been the site of the 1985 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament during Tech's Centennial year, the 1987 NCAA Northeast Regional, the 1993 NCAA Atlantic Regional, the 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 NCAA Atlanta Regionals and the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 NCAA Atlanta Super Regionals, as well as the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Games in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1994 and several Atlanta Dugout Club all-star games.
With the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and Georgia Tech serving as the athletes' village, the stadium was used extensively as a training site for the competing baseball teams.
Russ Chandler Stadium was originally built in Georgia Tech's Centennial year of 1985 and the facility is named in honor of A. Russell Chandler, III, who donated the funds for its construction. Chandler is a 1967 Georgia Tech graduate with a degree in Industrial Engineering.
At an original cost of approximately $650,000, the stadium accommodated approximately 2,500 spectators, including reserved seating for 500. The facility included restroom and concessions facilities, and a press level complete with radio and television booths, a working press area and a VIP box. This phase of the facility was completed in April, 1985.
Later improvements included a new locker room and office complex beneath the stands on the first-base side in 1986, connected by hallway to the Tech dugout. It housed dressing and shower facilities for the Tech players, an office for the coaches, an equipment room and a training room. An indoor workout facility and batting cage were built on the third-base side. In 1992, a weight training complex was completed behind the third base dugout and a permanent souvenir stand was built.
The dressing room and office complex were renovated in 1991 to include a lounge for the players as well as an expanded training room and equipment storage area.
The original stadium, along with adjacent football practice fields and track, was constructed after the 1929 Rose Bowl with funds received from the participation of Tech's 1928 football team in the post-season contest. The entire complex was named for the bowl.
At that time, the Rose Bowl Field complex consisted of the baseball field and three football practice fields, completely surrounded by the massive stone wall, part of which still stands along Fowler Street.
In 1971, Fifth Street, which parallels the first-base line, was extended through the campus and caused the removal of the original stadium seating area behind home plate. From then until the beginning of the 1985 season, wooden bleachers were used to accommodate spectators.
An outfield fence was installed in 1971 and dugouts built in 1972. A small press box and restroom facilities were added in 1973.
The first stadium lights were erected prior to the 1983 season, and the first night game was played between Tech and Howard University on Mar. 28, 1983, a 7-3 Yellow Jacket victory. The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games donated a brand new tarpaulin following the Centennial Games.
Outfield wall advertisements were first sold in 1983 to raise money for lights.
Since 1985, when Chandler Stadium's grandstand was built, through 2009, the Yellow Jackets have posted a sparkling 705-191-1 (.782) mark at home, including an all-time best record of 32-2 in 1992. Tech has been just as successful against ACC teams, with a 218-78-1 (.736) record, including an undefeated 11-0 slate in 1987 and a 14-1 mark in 2005.