Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Early Election Day treat for Twins; spring training renovations approved

Posted by: Phil Miller under Farm System Updated: November 6, 2012 - 11:55 AM

The Twins got the vote they wanted Tuesday morning, as the Lee County Board of Commissioners approved their renovation plans for their spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

The Commissioners voted 3-1, with one abstaining, in favor of a plan that will give Hammond Stadium and the surrounding facilities a $42.5 million facelift. Under the agreement, the Twins have agreed to a new 30-year lease that would keep them in Fort Myers through 2045.

Hammond Stadium’s seating capacity will increase from 8,000 to 9,300, with wider concourses, renovated concession stands and restrooms, a 360-degree walkway for fans around the field, and more shaded areas. The outfield wall will be re-designed with the same dimensions the Twins have at Target Field.

The Twins are paying $3.9 million to build an on-site dormitory that will include 55 sleeping rooms for players and staff. The Lee County Sports Complex will feature an additional practice field, a new weight room on the major league side of the complex and add a hydrotherapy area. Besides being used for spring training, the 55 dorm rooms will house the Twins' Class A Florida State League affiliate and rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate, both based in Fort Myers.

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