Welcome Stadium project moving forward with more funding

The Welcome Stadium project is now costing the district more than initially planned, in part because the district added more to the construction, but also due to rising costs of construction.

Dayton Public Schools board of education on Tuesday approved $9.25 million to be added to Shook Construction’s contract on Welcome Stadium. Shook Construction is overseeing the complete renovation of Welcome Stadium. The contract was initially $12.35 million, but district administrators familiar with the project said the final cost would be higher, and the project budget was meant to be gradually increased as the work continued in phases.

DPS has added a maintenance building and an additional practice field to the project.

The money being used for the stadium includes federal COVID-19 funding.

So far, the turf field has been replaced, new lighting installed, and construction workers are repairing and replacing outdated plumbing around the stadium, a Shook representative said at Tuesday’s Dayton Public Schools board meeting.

The press box has also been demolished and will be rebuilt. The track is being resurfaced, though the final touches will be completed in the spring, according to Shook Construction.

David Lawrence, the district business manager, said the district plans to use the updated Welcome Stadium for many different events, including Historically Black College and University football games, soccer games, band events and more. The district anticipates making between $150,000 and $300,000 on events held at the stadium every year, hopefully for a few decades, Lawrence said.

Lawrence said the district is keeping a close eye on the renovations and will continue to update the board on developments and the cost.

Will Smith, a board member on the committee to renovate Welcome Stadium, said he was excited about the new Hall of Fame, and displaying some of the districts’ old trophies and history.

Karen Wick-Gagnet, another board member on the Welcome Stadium committee, said she is grateful for the way the project has moved forward.

“I continue to be thoroughly engaged and enchanted with the project over there and super excited and willing to collaborate and just do whatever we can to bring this project to successful completion,” she said.

Welcome Stadium was built in 1949 and for decades, held track and field meets, statewide games and other high-profile high school and university athletics. Dayton officials have said they hope the rebuild for the stadium could bring some of that former glory back and bring in more money for the city.

The last time Welcome Stadium had work done was 2008, with about $3 million spent.

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