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Stadium construction finished

LAWRENCEVILLE - Construction on Gwinnett's new $64 million baseball stadium is officially complete.

Inspectors issued a certificate of occupancy for the 10,000 seat stadium on Buford Drive, north of Lawrenceville, on Wednesday, and Gwinnett Braves officials are putting in the finishing touches for April 17's home opener.

"I'm so very proud of the county employees who took on this project with professionalism and a desire to see this stadium completed on time," County Administrator Jock Connell said in a press release issued Friday. "What's really impressive is that they not only met but exceeded many of our applicable building and life safety codes in what has been a difficult time in the construction industry due to the flagging economy."

The stadium plan began in late 2006, when Commissioner Bert Nasuti floated the idea of a minor league baseball as an economic development tool.

In early 2008, commissioners purchased 12.3 acres for the project, and plans and construction was fast-tracked. As many as 500 workers were at the site during the heaviest construction period.