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Veteran firm gets call for stadium

LAWRENCEVILLE - Not only will Gwinnett's new baseball stadium have Atlanta's team as its main attraction, but it will also be built by the company that constructed Turner Field.

HKS Architects and Barton Malow Company were named as the design-build team for the Lawrenceville stadium, Preston Williams, the general manager of the Gwinnett Center who is leading the county's baseball endeavor, announced Monday.

"With this selection, we have brought to the project two highly recognized firms with strong baseball stadium experience," Williams said. "Together they bring the dedication to detail and experience necessary to design and deliver a stadium structure of the highest quality; which will be fully operational in time for the first pitch of the 2009 season."

Officials announced earlier this month plans to build a $45 million stadium on Buford Drive, just south of the Mall of Georgia at Rock Springs Road. The Atlanta Braves' AAA team, which is now based in Richmond, Va., will play games there beginning in April 2009.

The Barton Malow Company, which has an office in Roswell, worked on Camden Yards in Baltimore, Coors Field in Denver and Turner Field in Atlanta as well as the Jacksonville Suns AA ballpark.

"I think the time frame is definitely unique as to how things have come together so quickly," said Len Moser, the director of operations for the Southern region for Barton Malow.

Moser lives in Snellville and said he plans on attending games at the Gwinnett Braves stadium.

HKS Architects, which opened an Atlanta office in 2000, played a key role in the construction of Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. A host of about 50 officials from Gwinnett's government and business sectors visited the stadium, home of the AA Frisco RoughRiders, during an economic development trip last year.

Dr. Pepper Ballpark received the Texas Construction Award for "Best Architectural Design" for 2003 and was named the "Best New Ballpark in the Country" by BaseballParks.com.

"They've got a great track record of some wild designs," Moser said of HKS, the partners in the project. "Time will tell but from what we've seen they've got some great ballparks on their resume."

Williams said Brand Properties, the developer who sold the stadium land to commissioners two weeks ago, has a land disturbance permit and began clearing the property several days ago.

While results of soil studies, traffic plans and other details are still in the mix, Williams said he hoped to have many of the details worked out in the next several weeks, including a Development of Regional Impact study from the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.

"This week, we are going to establish a design schedule of activities that have to happen. ... We'll be having all-day charrettes for the next couple of weeks," Williams said. "I feel very comfortable we put a good team together."