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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2010 Archives > September 2010 > Grand Re-Opening Of Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Sports Pavilion

Grand Re-Opening Of Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Sports Pavilion

Contact: Peter K. Cutler
             (716) 851-5841


$1,967,309 Restoration Project of East Side Sports Complex Home to Buffalo Public High School sports, Pop Warner and American Youth Football programs, AAU Track and Field and Other Community Activities

Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined Buffalo Public School Superintendant Dr. James Williams and Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas and community members in celebration of the grand re-opening of the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Sports Pavilion.

The opening celebrates the completion of a nearly $2 million restoration of the East Side sports complex.

“One of the great advantages of this facility is its location in the heart of city,” said Mayor Brown. “It’s also another exceptional opportunity for the Buffalo Public Schools to collaborate with the entire City of Buffalo, as this facility will be shared by both the District and the community The Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion is an important facility for our city youth who need these types of facilities to pursue their athletic dreams in the appropriate setting.”
The sports pavilion once known to Buffalo residents as the War Memorial Stadium (or the “Old Rockpile”) was built in 1937 and in 1960 became home to the Buffalo Bills football team and the Buffalo Bisons baseball team. Shortly after the Buffalo Bisons moved into their new downtown stadium in 1988, the War Memorial Stadium was demolished.

Following the demolition, an agreement was reached to construct a sports complex that would serve the city's youth. The $6.8 million project created a “state of the art” all-weather track, lighted football field, baseball diamond, and 1,900 seats for spectators and support buildings.

The facility was dedicated in 1997 and renamed in honor of Johnnie B. Wiley and the Buffalo Public Schools were tapped to operate the facility. Over the past 13 years, time, wear and tear brought on the need to upgrade the facility.

In June of 2009 Mayor Byron W. Brown appointed a new board of directors who were charged with continuing the progress and restoration of the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Complex. Among those named to the board was former Buffalo Bill and NFL Hall of Fame Inductee Thurman Thomas who currently serves as Chairman of Board.

On June 10, 2009, the Board of Education approved construction contracts totaling $1,967,309 for the restoration of the sports complex that include: new artificial turf and synthetic surfacing, site drainage, new lighting, scoreboards and equipment for the facility’s football, soccer and baseball fields, as well as its track. In addition, new locker room and toilet facilities will be constructed in the facility’s maintenance/storage building. 

In 2009, Mayor Brown put $53,500 in the city’s capital budget, which went toward HVAC and electrical improvements here in Wiley offices. In the 2010 capital budget, Mayor Brown added $428,000 for major improvements in the facility’s second floor office area, including a new elevator for the building.

The Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Complex is now home to Buffalo Public High School sports, Pop Warner and American Youth Football programs, AAU Track and Field and many other community activities. 

Contractors selected by the Buffalo Public Schools are Anastasi Trucking and Paving (General Contractor; O’Connell Electric Company; and J.R. Swanson Plumbing Co. Inc.