Copyright 2013 Journal Sentinel Inc.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)
November 7, 2013 Thursday
Sports; Pg. 13
|Falls gets ambitious athletic upgrade plans | FROM THE PRESSBOX|
STEVEN L. TIETZ, Germantown-Menomonee Falls NOW (WI)
Patience all those who are tired of of the portable toilets at the Menomonee Falls Schumann Stadium, relief, literally and figuratively, is on the way.
"We have about $300,000 raised and we're looking for a million," Falls Athletic Director Ryan Anderson said of the ambitious next phases of the school's facilities upgrade, "and it will include a public, permanent bathroom on the north end of the (Schumann) stadium as well as team rooms for both football and track."
In Anderson's mind, this change cannot come too soon.
The first phase of the project, which was completed in 2007 for $1.54 million, vastly upgraded the track and the entrances to the stadium among other things (the tennis courts, gym bleachers and soccer lights were also beneficiaries). It was largely funded by an enthusiastic and tireless fundraising effort of the Menomonee Falls Booster Club's Capital Improvement Committee. The CIC and the district are back at it again, Anderson said, for what is being sought will not only include the much-needed modern plumbing and team rooms, but a vast reconfiguration of the athletic footprint of the campus.
Plan has two phases
There are two phases to the project, Anderson said, and some glossy brochures that have been distributed throughout the area. In the end, it will affect five sports including football, soccer, softball, track and baseball on the high school level and baseball and football on the Junior Indians level. It will also open up options for more community events at Schumann Stadium.
The first phase of this new portion of the project will include the new bathrooms and the conversion of the football field from grass to artificial turf.
The idea is to address simple, basic needs and then bigger and better things will hopefully follow, Anderson said.
First the bathrooms. "We've lost (hosting) football playoff games (because of the bathroom situation)," Anderson said.
If everything comes to pass and fundraising goes well, the artificial turf conversion will follow.
The artificial turf is not just an athletic "want," Anderson said, but may be a district "need."
"It provides tremendous curb appeal," Anderson said. "It attracts athletes and families thinking of moving here. "We're one of the last in our league (the Greater Metro) to do that."
For a large, upfront cost, districts have found that with artificial turf they can save $40,000-$50,000 a year in maintenance of their grass fields, Anderson said. With the artificial turf layout, the stadium surface will also be usable year round and that brings up the aforementioned community events.
"We want it to look incredible and we want it to be used," Anderson said. "The football field is the most underutilized piece of property (on the campus). It'll enable kids from (nearby) Ben Franklin (and the high school) to use it as a place to run phys-ed classes all the time."
As noted, the funding stands at about $300,000 with the $1 million goal still to be reached. The Junior Indians Football program has committed money and there is a balance in the CIC fund of above $200,000 at this point.
Anderson said that the booster club is also working very hard on this project and that meetings have been held with about 10 corporations though no firm commitments have been signed yet, he said.
Improvements for others
The other part of this project down the road would establish a permanent varsity softball field on campus, improve the freshmen/junior varsity baseball field, enlarge the current varsity soccer field (it's about 10 yards short right now) and try to establish a second soccer field.
With the high-profile softball program currently being based at Willowood Park, there is a problem because the varsity cannot host WIAA tournament games because the fences are too long. The new field at the high school would solve that problem, Anderson said.
That second phase of the new project would affect the football, soccer, softball, track, baseball and Junior Indians Football programs.
Anderson said the bigger picture to all this is to attract interested families who may also be impressed by the newly refurbished academic wings of the school, including the vastly upgraded science areas.
But as always, money remains the issue. Even in these challenging economic times, corporate help will do a lot of the heavy lifting, Anderson said, but the private resident can also be a big help by ordering a permanent personalized brick. They can be ordered for anywhere from $100-$750.
More information can be found for them at at falls athletics.donationbricks.com.
For more information on the entire project, contact Anderson at AndeRya@sdmfschools.org
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November 7, 2013