The steel structure for a new 23,000-seat football stadium that will be part of the $500 million, 90-acre Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio, should be visible to travelers on Interstate 77 by next Christmas.
The old stadium’s north and south stands have been demolished, and the press box—which was built in 2009—will meet the wrecking ball next week, to be replaced by a larger area for media.
The new facility, called Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and formerly known as Fawcett Stadium, is on schedule to be completed in time for next year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement festival, although some elements won’t be completed until 2018. The stadium’s cost alone is projected to exceed $80 million.
Tom Benson, who owns the New Orleans Saints pro football team, has donated $11 million to the Hall of Fame, nearly all of it earmarked for the stadium reconstruction. The state is kicking in $10 million, and the city of Canton $5 million for the new stadium. The Canton City Schools owns the stadium, but will only be on the hook for its maintenance.
HKS’s Sports and Entertainment Group is the stadium’s designer, working with clients Industrial Realty Group and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The 76-year-old Fawcett Stadium has been a high school field. Its ticket booths are among the artifacts being preserved for future display within the Village.
This fall, construction begins on the Hall of Fame Village that will involve between 400 and 500 workers.
There are eight components to Hall of Fame Village, according to its website:
•The Pro Football Hall of Fame Museum
•Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium/Sports & Entertainment Complex, which will include a first-of-its-kind permanent stage that will be embedded into the stadium’s seating bowl and located at midfield. The field is being lowered by 12 feet to accommodate a fan plaza that connects to the Hall of Fame museum.
•A four-star Hotel & Conference Center
•Legends Landing/Residential (an assisted living facility, some of which could be housing for retired pro football players)
•A state-of-the-art Youth Sports Complex, which is already underway
•Center for Excellence (Coaches University; Academy of Corporate Excellence; Officiating Clinics; Safety, Health & Performance Center)
•Main Street Hall of Fame (restaurants, retail)
•Hall of Fame/NFL Family Experience (high-tech virtual reality experiences and rides)
An economic feasibility study indicates that Hall of Fame Village will create more than 13,000 new jobs, and over a 25-year period will generate $15.3 billion in net new total economic output within Stark County, Ohio.