The city of Wilmington has reached a tentative agreement to lease Baynard Stadium to Salesianum School. Under the agreement, the school would assume the responsibility of maintaining, managing, and revitalizing the facility.
As a part of Salesianum School’s revitalization project, the stadium renovations would include: a new artificial turf field, a renovated running track, lights, bleachers, locker rooms, scoreboard, landscaping, restrooms, and hardscaping. The renovations are anticipated to cost approximately $15 million to $20 million and would be available for use by the public, other community-based schools, and other organizations.
All current users of the stadium such as Howard High School of Technology and St. Elizabeth High School would continue to use the facility to stage their events under the new leasing agreement. While other teams and organizations would also be allowed to use the stadium under a rental arrangement with Salesianum School.
Baynard Stadium has not been renovated since 1972, and the facility is facing serious structural issues. The 94-year-old facility’s bleachers were condemned last May following engineering assessments that led to their demolition in July. Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams and Council President Theo Gregory said they consider Baynard Stadium to be a treasured historic community asset and that it should be improved and preserved. Williams and Gregory also expressed their appreciation to the 113-year-old school for its willingness to forge a new partnership for the people of Wilmington and for everyone looking to use the stadium for recreation in the years ahead.
Salesianum School President Kennealey said the school is making the investment because of its strong history and role in the greater community. Kennealey also said that the project will create more than 50 new jobs and add $8 million to the local economy. The school will also work to hire Wilmington residents and contract with Wilmington-based companies for projects relative to the stadium’s renovation.
“Baynard Stadium evokes fond memories from generations of athletes and Salesianum is proud to be able to help support its renaissance,” President Kennealey said. “We envision a Baynard Stadium that continues to be a wonderful community asset and a destination place for city residents and people from across the region.”
The proposed lease agreement will be introduced to Wilmington City Council on Thursday.