The Hodag Schools Foundation (HSF) has announced the completion of the first phase of the Mike Webster Stadium renovation. Because the RHS track had deteriorated to the point that it could not be used, the School District of Rhinelander saw the need for phased-in stadium improvements. Last year, new lighting was installed to replace the old lights that were so outdated no replacement bulbs were available. In 2015, the School District budgeted improvements to the existing track surface but sought private funding update other stadium needs. Improvements, along with upgrading the track surface, included a new scoreboard and widening the track infield, allowing soccer as well as football to be played in the stadium.
The Hodag Schools Foundation donated a total of $312,350 of the project cost.
The Hodag Schools Foundation is celebrating the stadium improvements at the first home football game on Friday, August 28. The donors will be honored at a short ceremony prior to the 7 p.m. game.
The pre-game ceremony will also include the naming of the Todd McEldowney Press Center, named for retired teacher Todd McEldowney Sr., well-known as the “voice of the Rhinelander Hodags.”
“The renovation to Mike Webster Stadium benefits the entire Rhinelander community as well as school physical education classes and Hodag sport teams,” said HSF President Dave Heck. “The facility is used for the community cancer walk, graduation ceremonies and speaker engagements.”
According to a HSF press release, the following donors allowed the project to proceed: HSF donors, the Todd McEldowney family, Musson Brothers, Oettinger Excavating, Aspirus, Rhinelander Toyota, the Athletic Booster Club, the Gridiron Club and the Betty White family.
Future upgrades that are still needed to the stadium include new restrooms, a new concession stand, storage and team facilities. The objective is to fund these improvements with donations whenever possible, so these upgrades won’t be done right away.
“We very much appreciate our HSF donors and the ability to work with the School District to improve Mike Webster Stadium, said Sue Makris, HSF Vice President. “With limited resources due to state aid cut backs, Rhinelander has had to make many of these updates through private donations in order to have quality facilities for our community.”
The Hodag Schools Foundation (HSF) is a volunteer run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial support for quality programs and facilities, benefiting students and promoting excellence in the School District of Rhinelander and the entire community. HSF envisions innovative programming and strong, safe facilities which meet the long-term needs of the School District of Rhinelander and the community. HSF supports the well-being of youth and adults alike, strengthening ties to Hodag alumni and providing opportunities comparable to other communities.