Board says yes to ball fields complex

Plans for improvement project call for varsity, JV facility at middle school

IN ADDITION TO baseball and softball field improvements at John Long Middle School, a rendering in the master plan for Grafton High School’s athletic facilities depicts upgrades to the football stadium, soccer field and track.
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton School Board last week approved plans to upgrade the baseball and softball fields at John Long Middle School and create a complex for varsity and junior-varsity teams.

In April, the board approved a general outline for the master plan of a $4.39 million outdoor facility at Grafton High School in order to seek public-private sponsorship agreements for the project, but the plan did not include details for baseball and softball fields. 

School District Supt. Jeff Nelson said he wanted to discuss options with the coaches before making a decision. Nelson said all the coaches were in support of the upgrades and relocating the JV teams to the middle school.  

On May 29, the board accepted the administrative recommendation to relocate the JV baseball and softball programs to the middle school by a 5-2 vote.

Board members Steve Nauta and Mark Koehler voted against the plan. In previous discussions, they said they wanted to have both programs at the high school.

The JV programs will move to the middle school in 2021.

The board also voted, 5-2, to spend $800,000 to install artificial turf for the varsity fields.

Members Jerry Rossi and John Scolman voted against the plan. Rossi said the money would be better spent for upgrades at the high school football complex.

The $800,000 was set aside in 2017 for athletic field improvements after voters defeated a 2016 referendum. Voters eventually approved a $39.9 million referendum for school facility improvements that did not include athletic upgrades. 

The baseball and softball complex will eventually have four fields. Grafton School District Business Director Topher Adams said a Grafton Little League field will become a JV baseball field.

Adams said artificial turf will be installed on the varsity fields next spring.

Board members said they will seek donations for additional improvements to the fields.

The first phase of the master plan calls for new fencing around the football stadium and improvements to two entrances at the field, at a total cost of $560,964.

Most of the cost for the first phase will be paid with a $425,000 donation from Acuity Insurance’s charitable foundation, which includes naming rights for the school’s former gymnasium and new signage. That agreement was also approved at the April meeting.

Nelson said the first phase is a priority in order to raise more funds. Work is expected to begin this summer.

The second phase of the project includes improvements to the football field and its surrounding track at a cost of $1.6 million. That will include adding turf and stadium lighting and rearranging stations for track and field events.

The third phase involves improvements to the varsity soccer field, which will receive new stadium lighting, a building for concessions, bathrooms and storage. The plan also includes a pedestrian path and a plaza area. The cost is expected to cost $1 million.

The final phase of upgrades calls for a new scoreboard, flagpole and sound system for the football field. The total cost of those items is estimated at $768,000.



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login