Club donation to pay for most of new scoreboard

Gridiron organization to give $30,000, PW-S District will chip in $15,000 for football field improvement

A RENDERING BY scoreboard manufacturer Daktronics shows what the new Port Washington High School football field scoreboard will look like. The name of the Port Gridiron Club, which is donating $30,0000 toward the purchase, will run along the bottom. Unlike the current scoreboard, which is behind the south end zone and obstructed by goalposts, the new one will be at the northwest corner of the field.
By 
BILL SCHANEN IV
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington-Saukville School Board last week voted 8-1 to accept a $30,000 donation and earmark $15,000 of district money for a new high school football field scoreboard.

The donation comes from the Port Gridiron Club, and in exchange for it the district  will guarantee the organization’s name will be on the scoreboard for 15 years. 

The district will cover the remainder of the $45,000 cost of the Daktronics scoreboard.

The current scoreboard, which is set back from the south end zone of the Port Washington High School football field, needs to be replaced because it is obscured by goalposts, which interferes with the job of officials and could preclude the school from hosting playoff games, administrators told the board. 

The new scoreboard will be erected at the northwest corner of the field, hopefully during the summer, Director of Business Services Mel Nettesheim said. 

The football field project, which traditionally would have been vetted by a committee before coming to the School Board for a vote, came as a recommendation directly from Nettesheim and seemed to surprise some School Board members.

“This is the first I’m hearing of this,” said board member Brian McCutcheon, chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee, which has previously overseen athletic facility improvements at the high school. “I would have thought something like this would have first been discussed at the committee level.”

One question that may have been dealt with by a committee but instead was asked during the School Board meeting was whether the placement of the new scoreboard will interfere with plans to expand the running track around the football field to eight lanes.

“I can’t say yes or no,” Nettesheim said.

McCutcheon, who voted against the scoreboard project, said he is also concerned about groups essentially setting spending priorities for the district by proposing projects that are important to them but only partially fund them, leaving the district to pay the balance.

Supt. Dave Watkins, however, said a new scoreboard in a different location is a district priority that would need to be addressed with or without the Gridiron Club donation.

The new scoreboard is the first sign of life for planned outdoor athletic facility improvements at Port High since the installation of a $900,000 artificial turf football field in 2019. 

The field was the centerpiece of an $8 million athletic facility improvement plan drafted by the district and PWSSD Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to raise money for district facilities and initiatives. 

Although the foundation contributed to the field, the district paid the vast majority of the cost, earmarking $730,000 in proceeds from the sale of land as well as additional funds to the project.

The plan, which has not been discussed by the School Board in years, also calls for an eight-lane running track, new home bleachers and a press box, as well as artificial turf baseball fields and a new concession stand and restrooms.

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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.

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