Alderson, along with Chairman John Moores, Executive Vice President/General Manager Kevin Towers, government and sports officials from the Dominican Republic and representatives from Major League Baseball, the design firm HOK Sport and RALCO Construction Management Services will be in attendance at the grand opening ceremony on the 15-acre facility in the city of Najayo, San Cristobal. Additional members of the Padres front office staff who will be on hand for the event include President and Chief Operating Officer Dick Freeman, Assistant General Manager Fred Uhlman Jr., Vice President/Scouting & Player Development Grady Fuson, Vice President/Senior Advisor Dave Winfield, Director of International Scouting/Major League Scout Randy Smith, Associate Counsel Jeremy Horowitz and Administrator of Dominican Republic Operations Cesar Rizik.
"Our internal staff, led by Fred Uhlman Jr., Jeremy Horowitz and Cesar Rizik, have, together with our architects and contractors, created a magnificent facility in an inspiring setting," Alderson added.
The grand opening ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. EST (7:00 a.m. PST) and includes a presentation of the new academy and speeches from officials representing the Padres, the Dominican Republic and Major League Baseball. There will be a ceremonial ribbon cutting and first pitches, followed by a tour of the facility.
"This has been a very gratifying project for the San Diego Padres for many reasons," Moores said. "The Dominican Park will strengthen – in a state-of-the-art facility – the Padres ability to train the next generation of ballplayers from the Dominican Republic and from throughout the Caribbean. It also sends a strong signal to the international baseball community of the Padres commitment to building and maintaining a perennially competitive team."
The facility will operate year-round and also serve as the hub for the Padres Latin American baseball operations. The all-inclusive park includes two regulation-size playing fields and a half field, batting tunnels, a clubhouse, weight and training rooms, a dining hall and administrative offices. Additionally, the complex has housing for over 60 players as well as managers and coaches. In an effort to create a comprehensive training facility for the athletes, the club has incorporated on-site classrooms to further their education.
"The Padres will now be recognized as having one of the top facilities on an island rich with baseball talent," Towers said. "This complex enables us to become a major force from a development standpoint and will allow us to procure young players throughout all of Latin America."
"This park is paramount for the future of the San Diego Padres and its scouting and development success," Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Grady Fuson added. "We now have the presence and stature that alerts not only the rest of baseball but the country itself, to our commitment to the signing and development of Latin American players."
The academy opens with 32 players and the capacity to expand to 64 total. The facility is also the home of San Diego's Dominican Summer League affiliate, the DSL Padres.
"San Diego is a first class organization from top to bottom," Vice President/Senior Advisor Dave Winfield said. "Our facility in the Dominican Republic, in a very short time will become the premier entry point for players in the Americas to pursue a career in professional baseball."
Director of International Scouting/Major League Scout Randy Smith added, "The amenities of this complex and our staff here will be a huge asset in attracting players from all over Latin America to sign and develop with the Padres."
In addition to setting new standards for Major League Baseball facilities and their operation in the Dominican Republic, the Padres have already made a significant commitment to the local Najayo community. The club entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with ENTRENA, a Dominican education company, along with USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic to work collaboratively to improve the quality of basic primary school education in the country.