Built in 1960, Tacoma, WA’s Cheney Stadium has housed the city’s Triple-A baseball affiliate, the Rainiers, for seven different Major League Baseball clubs, and now, conveniently, serves that role for the nearby Seattle Mariners. In 2009, Tacoma voters approved subsidizing a $28 million renovation, which included premium seating and new concession stands, and the team’s owners, the Schlegel Sports Group, signed a 32-year lease to stay in the stadium.
However, Rainiers fans still had a problem. The stadium wasn’t visible from parking-lot entrances, and was potentially difficult to find. So, the team chose to install two, vertical, neon-lit signs, which are constructed and mounted atop a masonry base and installed on the stadium’s road frontage.
Tacoma-based Plumb Signs, which has maintained a lengthy relationship with the team, won the job. Previously, Plumb Signs partnered with Daktronics to design and install a new scoreboard, and collaborated with general contractor Mortenson Construction to fabricate Cheney Stadium’s wayfinding.
“Stadiums represent about 15% of our business,” Rob Marston, Plumb Signs’ president, said. “They’re always high-pressure and high-profile, and to maintain project consistency, we always implement the same management team for stadium jobs.”
Because the roadside sign was technically off stadium grounds, it required a variance. Plumb Signs collaborated with the team’s inhouse design department on the logo, and prepared the files using CorelDRAW® software for the overall concept, SA Intl.’s EnRoute®4 for 3-D fabrication, and FlexiCut for printed-graphic production.
The 16 ft. 3 in. x 9-ft. blade sign, with its sleek shape, typography and prominent arrows, pays homage to the Googie architecture prevalent during the era of the stadium’s original construction.
The internally illuminated (with white modules), double-faced, aluminum cabinet is CNC-routed, and it features second-surface, white Plexiglas® acrylic lettering enhanced with acrylic-polyurethane paint and several layers of exposed white or red neon tubing.
The team also needed to update its logo signage. The main-ID concourse sign replicates a bona-fide “Sea-Tac” icon – the red, script “R” that’s been associated with Rainier Ale for decades. The sign comprises a 3-in.-deep, open-faced front pan decorated with Matthews paint and outfitted with 15mm, clear-red neon painted PMS 186 red to amplify the ruddy color. A white layer of skeleton neon envelops the letter, and a steel bracket secures the sign while a backer pan houses transformers
and wiring. Plumb Signs also installed an enclosed, suspended Rainier “R” channel letter atop an outfield-terrace shelter. The 8-in.-deep channel letter, painted red, includes a 3M FlexFace™ flexible-face-material layer overlaid with dark-blue 3M vinyl. A steel tube, angle and bracket-hardware system secures the letter in place. The sign’s power box is nestled within the shelter surface.
The roadside sign earned well-deserved accolades. The Seattle chapter of the 2015 American Advertising Awards bestowed a Silver “Addy” for excellence in static signage or still imagery.
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