NOSD plan calls for revamped athletic facilities

School Board voices support for fundraising campaign after reviewing proposal for multi-million-dollar upgrades
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

Northern Ozaukee School District officials on Monday unveiled an athletic fields “master plan” that would include a combination football and soccer field and new baseball and softball fields, with most of it paid for with donations , they said.

“We need a capital campaign committee,” School Board President Brent Neis said. “We need to get going on that so we can go to (likely donors) and do it in a way that hopefully will not affect taxpayers.”

The proposed master plan, revealed in an animated video that played before board members and principals on Monday night, was developed with help from Rettler Corp., an architectural and landscape firm based in Stevens Point.

Rettler has helped with many similar projects in Wisconsin, including for high schools in Appleton, Lawrence University, St. Norbert College and the Bavarian Soccer Complex in Glendale.

The district’s current athletic fields occupy 57 acres mostly west of the school campus. Under the proposed plan, details of which have not been approved by the School Board but only proposed by its Building and Grounds Committee, 13 additional acres would be developed, mostly for a baseball and softball complex that would include three fields arrayed around a central concession stand and maintenance garage.

“There’s a real need for baseball and softball fields in the community,” School Board member Kevin Klas said. “This is a real opportunity to work with the village.”

NOSD Supt. Dave Karrels suggested that the project be divided into phases that would help with fundraising rather than trying to raise funds for the entire project at one time.

With that in mind, the board suggested the first phase include a new football field, which would double as a soccer field with an artificial surface, and the track surrounding it, plus new bleachers, press box and maintenance garage, concession stand and bathrooms.

About $300,000 for a new track are already available from the $14.95 million referendum that was passed by district voters in April 2018, officials said.

Most of the rest of the project, such as the baseball and softball fields, was not included in the referendum, officials said.

Based on comparisons to similar projects, Karrels said such a first phase would likely cost about $2 million.

Private fundraising has been used by other area schools to develop athletic facilities. Acuity Insurance in Sheboygan, for instance, earlier this year donated $425,000 to the Grafton School District to help improve sports facilities in return for naming rights to the Grafton High School gym.

But the Port Washington-Saukville School District has been unable to garner much private support for its $8 million overhaul of outdoor high school athletic facilities.

Northern Ozaukee School Board members said it’s worth a try. “If we could do this, that would be pretty exciting,” board member Dan Large said. “There are plenty of examples of failure, but what have we got to lose?”

Large is chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

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