CANTON, OH (WOIO) - There is a lot of activity going on around the Pro Football Hall of Fame campus, and it's not just the upcoming ceremony. It is an active construction zone.
The new Tom Benson Stadium was dedicated Thursday and that's just the beginning. So what's new, and what's ahead in the Hall of Fame Village?
When you step inside the newly dedicated Tom Benson Stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, you immediately feel like you're in the big leagues.
"We lowered the field 15 feet and moved it 50 feet closer to the Hall to tie it together," said Chief of Staff, Pete Fierli.
He says there are still finishing touches to be done, like replace the temporary seating at the end zone closest to the highway, and build a permanent scoreboard on the façade the Center for Excellence on the far end zone. They'll break ground on that this fall.
"It will be home to corporate management programs coaching academies, officiating clinics and there will be a medical component," Fierli said.
Capacity is essentially the same as the old Fawcett Stadium, about 23,000. But it's the amenities, like the new Sky Deck, which will overlook all the action, that are the game changers.
There is full service hospitality suites, five private suites and new press boxes. There are also five fan terraces on the top of the far end zone.
"So it's the new level of fan that doesn't want to sit in a seat for three hours. You can sit there like you're in your back patio and you rent that space," Fierli said.
They were careful to design for flexible use. They'll continue to be the home team for high school and college teams, and hope to host 10-12 concerts per year.
Part of the design includes a permanent stage, which will be used for concerts and the Enshrinement Ceremony each year. But it can also be used for seating for regular football games.
Also on the campus, the National Youth Football and Sports Complex which will grow from four to eleven fields, and expects to bring in close to half a million people a year. And construction also continues on the Hall of Fame Hotel, expected to open its doors in early 2019.
The development and progress now visible represents only 15% of what is planned for completion over the course of the next 2-3 years. That includes the 300,000 square foot water park and amusement park called the Hall of Fame Experience.