Janel Batten all but made a guarantee Friday.
The Pulaski High School athletics director told a crowd of students, staff, community supporters and others at a groundbreaking event that the crown jewel of the school district’s new sports facilities is slated to open Sept. 2.
That is when the Red Raiders’ varsity football team will play its first home game of the 2016 season against Sheboygan North.
“It’ll give ’em kind of a jolt that they need right now,” Batten said about the football team moving into the new stadium.
Work started this week on the first phase of what is called the Red Raider Field of Dreams, a $4.9 million project that will modernize the school district’s outdoor athletics sites.
The stadium will include a turf field and a synthetic track with throwing and jumping areas. The project also includes baseball and softball fields, as well as expanded tennis courts at the high school.
Pulaski’s football, baseball and softball teams have been playing at aging facilities down the street from the high school.
The popular school band will have its own seating area on one side of the new stadium, which will have concessions stands and restrooms under the spectator bleachers. The stadium also will have lights, a practice field and meeting rooms for the competing teams.
“What’s great is this project is going to benefit everybody,” said Michael Voelker, president of the Pulaski School Board.
All of the funding is coming from donors, along with in-kind contributions from businesses for the building materials.
Batten said more than $1.9 million has been raised since a steering committee launched a fundraising campaign last spring.
Kevin Bahr, the district’s facilities director, said construction bids for the first phase came in at $3.1 million.
Organizers hope to secure at least $200,000 in grants, and recently started the Legacy Club, which seeks 100 people to each give $10,000, to raise another $1 million.
“We’re grateful for the community support — the drive, the initiative and the passion of our community — to make the Field of Dreams a reality,” district Superintendent Bec Kurzynske said.
The new facilities will be located on the east end of the high school, which opened in 1999 after the district bought 90 acres of farmland.
Kurzynske said the designs for the school in the late 1990s included turning most of the newly acquired land into an outdoor sports complex. Those plans never materialized because of funding challenges.
“We tried the referendum route; that hasn’t worked out so well,” Kurzynske said. “But, certainly, you can see that there’s community support for the project with the donations.”
She said the second phase would start as more money comes in. That work includes four baseball and softball diamonds, and improving the stadium at the middle school for use by Pulaski’s soccer teams.
Source : greenbaypressgazette.com