The new downtown High Point baseball stadium faced a lot of hurdles in 2017 – but now, well into the construction process, city leaders say they’re delighted with the progress of the stadium and the way the team’s front office is coming together.
The newly named High Point “Rockers” are expected to begin play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball in the spring of 2019. The multi-use stadium will also be the home to concerts, special events and other sporting events.
High Point Assistant City Manager Randy Hemann said stadium construction had been going well and there had been a great deal of noticeable fan support in the community. He said people were already buying team merchandise.
“We appreciate the support,” Hemann said,
Before recent heavy rains there was an extended dry period that helped the project advance.
“Drought is really good for construction,” Hemann said.
Hemann said he is “thrilled” with the way the city has been working with the builders.
He added that there are of course challenges and that a lot of the stadium details are still being worked out. He said there are many moving parts to the project intended to revitalize High Point’s downtown.
“We’re obviously building a state-of-the-art ball park, so it is highly involved,” he said.
One issue now under discussion is what the scoreboard will look like. City leaders say they want one that’s very “dynamic” and conveys excitement to the crowd.
The $36 million project is meant to bring a lot of jobs to downtown High Point. The construction phase has clearly been doing that, and now the team’s front office is contributing to job creation as the team just added two key members.
Rockers President Ken Lehner said his office will be adding more staff soon.
“We’re obviously in a hiring mood,” he said.
Lehner said he’s been thrilled with the amount of local fan support so far.
“We’re very comfortable with season ticket deposits,” he said.
He also said that, while those are just deposits for now, and not actual season ticket sales, it’s a very good indicator of the high fan interest.
“Ninety-nine percent of those will purchase season tickets,” he said.
Another indicator of interest, he said, is the demand for ballpark suites.
“All eight of our suites are sold out,” Lehner said.
The High Point Rockers just hired Christian Heimall as the team’s assistant general manager and named Ashley Kearns as the new office manager and retail manager for the team.
The team does not plan to hire a general manager – instead, Lehner and Heimall will share the responsibilities a general manager would usually handle.
The team’s staff is now going to create and implement a promotional schedule and social media campaign, hire additional staff and work toward filling out the team roster.
Heimall has worked in both professional and collegiate baseball at various levels, with the Rockers being the third pro team he’s worked for.
Kearns, who has an employment history in retail management, will handle all merchandising for the Rockers and will have duties such as selecting team apparel and memorabilia. Kearns is also responsible for overseeing team merchandise choices and for the day-to-day management of the team’s front office.
Earlier this year, High Point held the “Name Your Team” contest that drew more than 2,800 suggestions and eventually resulted in the name, High Point Rockers.
The name Rockers beat out Dragon Claws, Splinters and many others. The winning name was announced early this summer at a BB&T Point Progress Party.
Lehner said officials behind the project have been “overwhelmed” by all the feedback from the community. He said he is also a big fan of the team’s new logo.
“At the end of the day, we believe that the Rockers’ name and logos embody the City of High Point’s history and future,” he said.
The team’s primary logo is a rocking chair with baseballs on the ends of the arms and a flame coming out of the back – as if the rocking chair were a rocket.