Abessinio Stadium - April 1, 2020

Abessinio Stadium - April 1, 2020

Progress and hope are two key words around Salesianum's Abessinio Stadium project at the moment.

Parts of the complex have already risen from the rubble of Baynard Stadium, as the outer shell and roof of the building that will house concessions and the ATI Specialists office is already complete, while much of the steel for the back of the stadium is also in place, along with the lighting system.

That's the progress, as for the hope part, it's the giant unknown.

Salesianum's biggest issue with their 4,000-seat, 5,000 with standing room, stadium is the thing that has paralyzed many parts of the country: COVID-19.

"We were on a really, really, tight timeline to make it for our first home game before all the coronavirus stuff hit, and now there's a lot more obstacles," Salesianum President Brendan Kennealey told WDEL.

Delaware's state of emergency and CDC guidelines have mandated six-foot social distancing guidelines, that also must be followed by construction workers.

That's meant crews that were working six days a week to make up for a rainy autumn in Delaware are suddenly limited to four days, and Kennealey said there was a point it seemed like the artificial turf field could be in jeopardy.

"We had one firm shut down for about a week. They're out of New York. They're a specialty firm working on the field itself. When New York did their state of emergency they included construction. That firm had to confirm they could still continue to work out of state, there was some question about that."

While many states such as New York and Pennsylvania have banned construction, they're still allowed to go forward in Delaware, and Kennealey said that will ultimately play a big role on whether the stadium opens on time.

"If the Delaware state of emergency gets expanded to include construction, it'll shut it down, but right now the crews are out there working as hard as they can."

Salesianum is slated to host its first home game at Abessinio Stadium on September 25 against Appoquinimink.

It will take good weather, and better health, to get to the goal line.