Welcome Stadium revamp to break ground today

A rendering of the updated Welcome Stadium that was recently shared with the Dayton City Commission. CONTRIBUTED

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A rendering of the updated Welcome Stadium that was recently shared with the Dayton City Commission. CONTRIBUTED

Welcome Stadium’s most significant renovation in nearly three-quarters of a century has already started, but the community is invited to the official groundbreaking on Wednesday, June 8, where more information and renderings of the updated facility will be unveiled and shared.

The Welcome Stadium renovation project is an opportunity “that can really galvanize our community,” said Will Smith, president of the Dayton Board of Education. “We want people to spend their money in Dayton, we want people to come visit Dayton, we want people to enjoy being in Dayton — but more importantly, we want to give our kids what they deserve.”

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The track at Welcome Stadium is being removed and replaced. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The track at Welcome Stadium is being removed and replaced. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The track at Welcome Stadium is being removed and replaced. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton Public Schools plans to spend about $11 million upgrading the facility. Welcome Stadium opened in 1949, and the most recent revamp was a $3 million project in 2008.

Smith said the first phase is underway, and crews are tearing out the stadium’s track and will soon replace the track and the turf field.

The stadium renovation project will occur in phases to avoid displacing students during the school year, Smith said, and new turf, track and lighting should be ready by this fall.

“A lot of our larger renovations will be done by the fall of 2023,” he said.

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The track at Welcome Stadium is being removed and replaced. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The track at Welcome Stadium is being removed and replaced. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The track at Welcome Stadium is being removed and replaced. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Welcome Stadium has hosted numerous athletic and community events over the years, and the University of Dayton football team has played at the property since the 1970s, Smith said.

School officials hope the updated stadium will attract new tournaments and activities.

“Big picture, we’ll bring money back to the community as well,” said Victoria Jones, Dayton Public Schools’ executive director of athletics. “We want to open it up to drill teams, cheerleading competitions — we were very intentional with multi-purpose (uses) when we put this together.”

The stadium also will be home to a Dayton Public Schools hall of fame, which will display some of the school district’s proud history, Smith said.

Future Olympic champions and NFL players have competed and practiced at the 11,000-seat stadium.

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Aerial view of Dayton Public Schools' Welcome Stadium looking west several years ago. DDN FILE PHOTO

Credit: Ty Greenlees

Aerial view of Dayton Public Schools' Welcome Stadium looking west several years ago.   DDN FILE PHOTO

Credit: Ty Greenlees

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Aerial view of Dayton Public Schools' Welcome Stadium looking west several years ago. DDN FILE PHOTO

Credit: Ty Greenlees

Credit: Ty Greenlees

The stadium also will have educational spaces for students interested in sports broadcasting, medicine and other careers.

The groundbreaking will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 8, at 1601 S. Edwin C. Moses Boulevard, Smith said.

Welcome Stadium at the turn of the century hosted the state high school track and field meet for multiple years after the track at Ohio Stadium in Columbus was removed.

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Miamisburg junior Tyler Johnson was fourth in the high jump (6-6) during the D-I regional track and field meet at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium on Friday, May 26, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Miamisburg junior Tyler Johnson was fourth in the high jump (6-6) during the D-I regional track and field meet at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium on Friday, May 26, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

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Miamisburg junior Tyler Johnson was fourth in the high jump (6-6) during the D-I regional track and field meet at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium on Friday, May 26, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

That event injected millions of dollars into the Dayton community, and it would be great if the stadium could once again host a state track meet, said Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr., who was a longtime educator, school board member and president of the teacher’s union.

“Whatever we can do to help you in this venture, let us know,” Mims told Smith and Jones.

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