Stadium something to brag about


Welcome to the big time.

That’s what I thought when I stepped into Doug Adams Stadium last Thursday before Xenia hosted Beavercreek in the football season opener for both schools.

The district — which in the last decade or so has opened new elementary school buildings, refurbished Benner Field House, added turf and a track to the stadium, topped off the high school gym, and is in the process of building a new middle school — now has a top-notch football/soccer/lacrosse/track and field facility.

The obligatory quick look back: An assessment of district properties in 2017 showed that the lighting and electrical systems were unreliable and the bleachers showed some serious wear and tear, especially the center section that was installed in the 1950s and moved from Central High School.

So for around $3 million, the district replaced the light poles with energy-efficient LED, replaced the seating on both sides with ADA compliant bleachers and increased capacity to 6,000 (up 500 on both sides), replaced the press box, added 110 parking spaces, and moved the home side so it no longer faces west.

Obviously the upgrades were needed. The turf was installed in 2015 and the track in 2017. There wasn’t much room to move around in the press box and it just felt like 1960 when walking up and down the bleachers, especially the home side.

Now the stadium is one of the best in the Miami Valley League and Dayton area in general.

This is one of those hometown pride moments. Tell a friend. Tell everybody. The shiny, majestic bleachers and LED lights greet motorists as they head in and out of town on Main Street. I used to look at the old bleachers and think, yech. Now it’s just jaw-dropping.

It also puts Xenia in prime position to host neutral site football and soccer tournaments and bring thousands into town for pre-game and post-game food.

With a capacity of 6,000 (4,000 on the home side and 2,000 on the visitor side) there is absolutely no reason why Xenia couldn’t host any level of tournament action, including state semifinals for soccer and state semifinals for Division II to Division VII football. Division I state semifinals may require a larger facility like Welcome Stadium and Troy Memorial Stadium (assuming it completes its turf project). Both hold more than 10,000 and D-I teams like Centerville, St. Xavier, Elder, and Wayne — which have made a state semifinal or two — could easily pack the entire stadium.

While the Ohio High School Athletic Association and district athletic boards get the ticket money, the host school keeps parking fees and concession money and proceeds from a 50/50 raffle if one is held. The state also pays for rental and staffing up to a certain amount, most recently $2,800 for neutral site.

This is no doubt what Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton had in mind when he broached this subject. He knew the importance of this. Lofton and the school board, led by president Joshua Day, deserve a huge pat on the back for bringing this to Xenia.

Despite the rain, monsoon-like at times for last week’s game, I could feel the energy. I could feel the difference.

It felt like the big time.

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

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