Janet Marie Smith Orioles vice president for stadium planning and development ORIOLE PARK PROFILE

March 29, 1992|By Edward Gunts

Whatever is in the details of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Janet Marie Smith probably helped put it there.

As the Orioles' vice president for stadium planning and development -- one of the first women in the country to hold such a position -- the 34-year-old Mississippi native and avid baseball fan has served since January 1989 as the liaison among the ballclub, the Maryland Stadium Authority and the project architect, HOK Sports Facilities Group.

Taking her lead from Orioles majority owner Eli Jacobs and president Larry Lucchino, Smith has been instrumental in many of the major and minor decisions that effect the ballpark's look and feel, from the use of steel trusses rather than concrete for the upper deck to development of an "intimacy index" for the seating to making sure the Orioles weather vanes atop the scoreboard are "ornithologically correct."

Most of all, she has worked to make sure the ballpark is a perfect fit for Baltimore -- "so specific to the site," she once put it, "that you couldn't pack it up and move it anywhere else."

Trained as an architect and urban planner, Smith has made a career of representing the owner or tenant as the design conscience for large-scale urban projects, including Battery Park City in New York and Pershing Square in Los Angeles.

As the work neared completion on the ballpark earlier this month, Smith said she had one main goal for it. "I want people to feel like they've been there before," she said. "I want them to feel like it's familiar, even if it's their first time there."

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