Funding for athletic fields fine-tuned by School Board

District expecting more donations to help finance phase two of improvements
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

Plans are moving forward for the Grafton School District’s athletic fields improvement project. 

During Monday’s School Board meeting, officials discussed the second portion of the four-phase project, which consists of improvements to the Grafton High School football field and its surrounding track.

The second phase, which is expected to cost $1.96 million, will also include adding synthetic turf, stadium lighting, a new track and rearranging stations for track and field events.

The district has about $1.6 million pledged toward its Enhancing Our Future campaign for the athletic upgrades. That total was recently supported by a $50,000 donation by Sendik’s Food Market in Grafton.

A total of $1.4 million is available for phase two. That includes $614,667 in funds currently in hand as well as $775,209 in future pledges. An additional $578,124 is needed to fully fund phase two.

In 2017, district voters approved a $39.9 million facilities referendum that did not include athletic improvements after a referendum failed to pass the previous year.

“The board’s vision back in 2016, after that failed referendum, was to ensure these things get done so we had safe places for kids to play, to ensure the facilities were brought up to speed and modernized to the best our ability and ultimately to save cost in the long term,” School Board President Paul Lorge said.

Director of Business Services Topher Adams recommended that the board reallocate fund balance from the 2020-21 school budget to reduce the phase-two cost, leaving $236,000 to be covered by pledges. The board unanimously agreed.

“We have three donors right now we are working with who have large potential, and we need to make a decision in the next week to see if we can work together and that they can sponsor in some way,” Supt. Jeff Nelson said.

The first phase, which is underway, consists of a new entryway, ticket booth, fencing and a plaza for the high school stadium. That project is expected to be complete for the fall 2021 season.

Phase three includes a new concession stand and restroom facility as well as a ticket booth and new walkway to the soccer stadium. The estimated cost for that phase is $360,000.

The final phase will be a new scoreboard, flagpole and sound system for the football field. The cost is $768,000.

In 2017, the board allocated $400,000 from fund balance for soccer facility improvements. Included was the installation of a grass field with drainage, an irrigation system and new fencing that improved field performance and enhanced player safety. The project was completed in time for the fall 2018 season.

In 2018, the board allocated $800,000 from the district fund balance for baseball and softball facility improvements. 

The project included turf infields and new backstops for the varsity baseball and softball fields and the installation of a junior-varsity  field at John Long Middle School. The varsity baseball and softball fields were completed in time for the 2020 spring season and the JV baseball field will be completed in time for the 2022 spring season.

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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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