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Benson Stadium to open for Hall of Fame Game

By ALISON MATA GateHouse Ohio Media Published: May 24, 2017 12:00 AM
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CANTON -- Kickoff for the 2017 Hall of Fame Game is in less than 80 days.

Developers said this week Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will be ready for fans by then, though not all planned features will be finished.

Construction continues on the south stands of the stadium, which were demolished following last summer's enshrinement. By the Aug. 3 Hall of Fame Game, the south stands -- with a press area, suites and top-level lounge -- and the party decks planned for the west end zone are expected to be done. Temporary seating will be installed in the east end zone of the stadium, and a temporary scoreboard will go up in the west end zone.

The renovated north stands and permanent stage opened last year.

About 300 people are working a combined three shifts 22 hours a day to build the stadium. Once work moves from the hard construction to the interior in a few weeks, there will be more than 400 people on site, said Steve Strawbridge, chief administrative officer of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Crews began to install seats in the south stands this week.

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Beyond traditional theater seats, the south stands also will have club seats and a level for suites and the press area. Five of the suites will be luxury suites with televisions and bathrooms. Ten other suites will vary in size and be multipurpose.

The top of the stadium will open this summer as a sky-level zone that can host up to 200. Eventually, that space will be built into 10 sky-level suites.

HKS Architects, based in Dallas, designed the stadium. The firm has designed several NFL stadiums, including U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will host this year's Hall of Fame Game between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys, the enshrinement, and the Concert for Legends featuring Kid Rock and Toby Keith. Tickets for all events -- and for the premium seating in the south stands -- are on sale on the Hall's website.

Reach Alison at 330-580-8312 or alison.matas@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @amatasREP


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