NOSD to launch campaign for athletic upgrades

District finalizes plans for outdoor facilities work that’s expected to cost $3 million

AN ARTIST’S RENDERING for proposed upgrades to Ozaukee High School’s outdoor athletic facilities depicts a synthetic-turf field surrounded by a new eight-lane track. The field — which would be used by football and soccer teams as well as for other activities — is the centerpiece of the renovation project, which is expected to cost about $3 million.
Ozaukee Press Staff

After months of discussion, Northern Ozaukee School District officials have finalized plans to upgrade outdoor athletic facilities, starting with the high school’s football field and track, and they plan to launch a fundraising campaign next month.

Officials have proposed installing artificial turf on the football field to make it usable for soccer and other events, adding a new eight-lane track, upgrading field event sites and improving maintenance and concession facilities.

A detailed cost estimate of the project has not been set by the district’s Building and Grounds and Finance Committee, which is leading the effort. However, plans call for  a preliminary fundraising goal of about $3 million.

The district will host a public information meeting to highlight aspects of the plan and launch the fundraising effort at 7 p.m. Monday, April 26, in the district Fine Arts Center.

About $350,000 of the fundraising goal is already in hand as part of a $14.95 million building referendum passed by district voters in 2018. That money was earmarked to upgrade the track, but officials decided to make it part of the larger effort, Supt. Dave Karrels said.

“Our track right now is not usable,” Karrels said. “We have not hosted a track meet since 2016. Parts of it are lifted, there are large cracks in it, there are limited areas available to practice. We need to have a safe track for our student athletes.

“Instead of putting a Band-Aid on that, our thought was that what needed to happen is let’s do it right and let’s do this really well. How do we make this a facility and a campus that we’ll be able to utilize for many years to come?”

Installing artificial turf on the football field and striping it for soccer will make the field usable almost year-round, Karrels said, including in the early spring when the current natural turf field is sodden from melting snow and spring rains.

Artificial turf would also make the field more available for physical-education classes, marching-band practices and other activities, he added.

“We have a constant need for gym space. Right now the field is almost entirely used for football. With the synthetic turf, it can be used year round and made available for community usage.”

The current grass soccer field has good drainage and is well-used, Karrels said. A new artificial-turf field would make it possible to use the grass field for tournaments and junior-varsity games.

The project also calls for replacing metal outdoor maintenance sheds that are more than 60 years old.

“They are in really rough condition. We need space for our maintenance equipment,” Karrels said.

He said most of the proposed improvements were highlighted by the community in surveys conducted by the district.

The proposed upgrades are seen as the first phase of other outdoor improvements, including development of baseball and softball fields. However, Karrels said, the committee’s current focus is on the football field and the track.

“Our central focus is on this outdoor facility project. We laid out some potential long-term projects that we just wanted to map out. We’ve really homed in on this as being the need,” he said.

The current baseball field, Karrels noted, was improved in 2019. He added that local youth baseball and softball groups are working to upgrade local fields, perhaps opening the door to cooperative arrangements with the district.

For the proposed facilities effort, officials have set donor tiers, ranging from a $1,000 to $4,999 for Blue Level, $5,000 to $49,999 for Gold Level, $50,000 to $99,999 for Varsity Level and $100,000 or more for Warrior Level.

There also are a series of sponsorship opportunities, including a campus facility sign on Highway 57 for a suggested donation of $1 million, and naming rights to a field archway ($500,000), concession stand ($250,000) and stadium press box ($150,000), among others.

Karrels said fundraisers will reach out to groups and corporate sponsors, and not just locally.

“We want to first engage our local community, but we’re open to all,” he said. “We would love to connect with anyone who supports our district goals, including businesses and corporations that would be interested in partnering with our district.”

Karrels said he expects most of those contacts to come through alumni or local residents who have connections with those groups and businesses.




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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.

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