YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The largest construction project in over a decade is now being proposed for a Youngstown neighborhood not accustomed to projects of this magnitude.
Valley Christian School is proposing to spend $10 million on a new athletic complex behind the former South High School, on land currently occupied by the field and field house.
“Well, it’s a big plan,” said Valley Christian President Mike Pecchia.
Pecchia walked us through the plan to turn South Stadium and South Field House into what will be called Valley Legends Stadium. He had pictures of what the stadium would look like — a turf field, an eight-lane track and seating for 3,000.
It would be ready for Valley Christian’s 2025 football season at a cost of $5.4 million. The second phase is an additional $4.6 million and will be called Legends Gateway. Among its features, the names of the eight City Series schools will be placed on pillars.
“So the bottom will be like concession stands and locker rooms, but the second floor will be community rooms. Now, we haven’t quite figured out what they could be used for but the idea is we want the community, it’s something the community can enjoy. We don’t want it just to be for us,” Pecchia said.
South Field House, with its broken windows and cracked facade, will be demolished. Pecchia says it’s time for the building to go.
“They can’t even come in and get anyone to appraise it. So it does, and we need it to go because we need the room,” he said.
Pecchia is well aware of the tradition of South Stadium, which hosted its first football game in 1914. He wants to keep the tradition going but he also hopes it’ll help revitalize the surrounding neighborhood.
“We just think it’s going to be great for the neighborhood and again, I think the Market Street Corridor is just so important why we want to be here,” Pecchia said.
Then there’s the issue of the money. Pecchia says they do not have the first $5 million.
“We’ve currently got a little bit on hand, but our plan is to raise those funds. We’ve been talking to donors, some private donors, some private grants, federal money, state. We’re going to be looking at all those things, too,” he said.
Both South Stadium and South Field House are owned by the city of Youngstown. So, city council must approve the plan. So far, there has been no opposition.
The former South High School, which is also a part of the property, is not a part of the athletic complex plan. The future of it is unknown.