Dayton Public Schools administrators said Tuesday they expect the construction budget for improvements to Welcome Stadium to remain around $28 million, but the cost of materials is a concern and could drive up the price slightly.
The district hast met with contractors on the project and told them there won’t be changes to the design at the stadium, David Lawrence, the district’s business manager, said.
“We came into the meeting and said, this is what we’re going with,” Lawrence said.
The $28 million covers improvements to the stadium, a new press box and scoreboard, and replaced turf. An additional $17 million is expected to be fundraised in the future to pay for a field house and a practice field.
Board members again expressed concerns that the stadium constructions would go up.
“My concern is that we have $28 million in this project right now, and I would like to know if this is going to increase to $30, $32, $40, $44 million?” said Gabriela Pickett, board member.
Pickett said she was concerned the project would just end up increasing, like the 2019 project to move the DPS headquarters across the street
Lawrence said he does not think the Welcome Stadium project is like that 2019 project.
“I’ve been briefed on that, and this is far different,” Lawrence said.
Chrisondra Goodwine, board president, said the difference was in the cost of construction.
“The materials are increasing,” Goodwine said. “It’s nothing we can control ourselves right now.”
Goodwine said from presentations she’s seen, the contractors have tried to purchase as much as they could ahead of time at lower rates, but that purchasing couldn’t continue until the board approved the funding.
Treasurer Hiwot Abraha said the district has now allocated the money needed for the project: $12.8 million came from a settlement with the Ohio Department of Education over inadequate funding; $9.25 million came from federal COVID-19 funding and will be used to improve air quality and social distancing at the stadium; and $6 million, approved last month, came from the district’s capital improvement fund.
Abraha said no cuts to education or other activities were made with that $6 million allocation because it came out of the district’s budget for building improvements.
So far, the district has spent $8.2 million on the improvements, Abraha said.
The project is expected to be mostly complete by the start of football season.
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