USL Championship’s Hartford Athletic will use UConn’s Rentschler Field on an interim basis starting in May, allowing time for Dillon Stadium renovations to conclude.
New to the Division II circuit this season as an expansion club, the Athletic is slated to call a revived Dillon Stadium (rendering above) its permanent home. Construction has been taking place to bring the historic facility back into working order for professional soccer and other events, and it was at one point anticipated that the Athletic’s first home match would be played there in May. However, the club announced on Monday that Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field will be used on an interim basis beginning with a May 4 home match against the Charlotte Independence.
The Dillon Stadium renovation project was reported by The Courant to cost upward of $14 million, a mix of both public and private funds. Construction includes the installment of a turf field and bleachers that are set to hold 5,500 fans.
“It’s an 80-year-old site,” Hartford Athletic Chairman and CEO Bruce Mandell told The Courant in November. “The one thing we wanted to make sure was that we did this right. This neighborhood deserves a real stadium and the ability to have community use out of it. We didn’t want to come back in five years, 10 years and have to fix things. When we found out that the actual soil beneath some of the stands was so soft, we had to put extra concrete blocks in there to firm it up. That costs a lot of money.”
Located in East Hartford, Rentschler Field is primarily home to UConn’s football program, but has been used for a variety of other events. That includes an MLS match, as New York City FC moved a September 2017 game to the facility due to a scheduling conflict with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
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