School officials said they hope the updated stadium will attract new state and national athletic events and activities that would provide new revenue.
Dayton Mayor Jeff Mims said he hopes the stadium can help develop future leaders for the city during his speech at a Wednesday groundbreaking.
“You are not just athletes. You’re not just students, you are leaders in this community today, and tomorrow, and then to the future,” Mims told assembled students at the stadium.
The stadium was last renovated in 2008, when the district spent about $3 million.
The renovations have already begun and will continue in stages to avoid displacing athletes during their seasons. The full renovation won’t be finished until fall 2023.
New turf, track and lighting should be ready by this fall, which the Thurgood-Marshall High School football team was exited about.
Amier Littlejohn and Christopher Chapman said Thurgood will play Ponitz Career Technology Center ‘s football team in the first game of the season next year, and they look forward to being on the new turf.
Chapman said he’d played on the same field since he was in Pee Wee football. He and Littlejohn said they hope more people come out to watch games when the stadium is completed.
“I’m looking forward to the new design,” Chapman said.
Smith said the stadium will also feature a hall of fame, something he said will help current students understand the past and look forward to the future, while honoring past DPS athletics members.
Smith said he wanted the stadium to be a community place where his 13-year-old and 16-year-old can safely play soccer, but also where they can cheer on their classmates.
“I want them to be able to come out even if they’re not playing,” Smith said. “I know that they want to come out and support their friends, support their classmates.”