By Edwin Perez, Arizona Republic
The new facility, which will include several practice pitches, is being built at the Wild Horse Pass entertainment area on the Gila River Indian Community, off Interstate 10 and the Loop 202 freeway near Chandler. The team will relocate from Casino Arizona Field, on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Tempe. The new facility will offer many amenities and features that will change the gameday experience for all fans, club officials said.
“We always like to listen, observe and understand where they may be some pain points for our fans and the club,” said Rising General Manager Bobby Dulle. “I think there is something for everyone and we are excited to get it up and going, and hopefully (this new stadium) will make everyone proud.”
The facility’s fields now have taken shape, among other parts of the facility. Access to the stadium from multiple major freeways and multiple points of entry, paved roads and parking lot along with expansive grounds are among things fans will notice. In addition, a large video board, seating for up to 10,000 fans and an improved VIP experience with dedicated amenities and entrances will be featured, along with a family-friendly area, permanent bathrooms, permanent ticket office and new locker rooms.
The project began “as early as this time last year” with discussions and planning in collaboration with Gila River tribal community officials. The stadium work is progressing and on track to be completed by the start of the 2021 USL Championship season scheduled for May 1. The construction has “moved along very quickly,” Dulle said.
“All three pitches are in at the moment and are done and are just being sprinkled and cut but are looking really good,” Dulle said. The team on Tuesday posted aerial video showing the fields.
“A lot of the permanent infrastructures is being put in at the moment such as the road are being prepped to be paved,” Dulle added. “We are starting to bring in the plumbing and the electrical so the permanent infrastructure for the utilities is being routed all around the site at the moment.”
The club begins its preseason the first week of March at the new facilities. They will have access to the new training grounds and locker room facility, which will mark the first time it will be functioning for the club and not just be a construction site. The timeline to get the rest of the structure completed will be early April.
“The project has to come to life a little bit with one building on site finished and 10 of the bathroom structures are already on site,” Dulle said.
“February, March and early April will be when we will put the structure around the stadium. A lot of movement and progress visually will come mid-March.”
The big question that remains is what will happen to the stadium they called home since 2017. Casino Arizona Field will still remain important for the club as they hope they can use it for younger players to get exposed to the game. “The infrastructure around the stadium is coming down and nearly all the way done,” Dulle said. “Those fields are currently being utilized by our youth team and hopefully we are in a position that those fields will stay in the family and will be used by our youth club for the foreseeable future.”
The significance of this move is “unmeasurable” as the owner group keeps moving towards their main vision they had when it all started, he added. “We are growing and we have a committed owner group both on and off the field that is focused on our main vision of uniting all of Arizona through the sport of soccer,” Dulle said.
“We want to build a club that everyone is excited to stand behind. The support from this community and state has been fantastic in all areas so I am just so excited and fortunate, as an individual, to be a part of this.”
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