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End is in sight for turf installation
South, West, North in different stages
By Mark Hutchinson
Freeman Staff 7/23/14
WAUKESHA — The buzz preceding the start of a prep sports season usually begins when football practice opens in early August.
This summer, however, it is already echoing across the campuses of Waukesha’s three public high schools, accompanied by the roar of bulldozers and earth movers.
The Fields of Many Dreams project, a joint effort between Waukesha North, Waukesha South and Waukesha West high schools to install synthetic turf within all three stadiums, is rapidly gaining ground.
A substantial financial commitment from SC Waukesha for field rental gave the project a major boost in March after it was in a holding pattern for several years.
The athletic directors who have been overseeing the projects at their respective schools all have encouraging progress reports to offer.
Waukesha South Athletic Director Dan Domach has seen great strides since the project began on South’s campus May 28.
“They finished the gravel Thursday, laying sand over stone Friday,” Domach said before the turf installation began earlier this week. “The progress has been recorded with pictures that are posted on our website (waukeshasouthathleticsandactivities. com).”
The Waukesha West campus has been a beehive of activity as well.
“Our turf project construction is currently in full swing,” Waukesha West Athletic Director Kyle LeMieux said. “Between the installation of our drainage system, new concrete and the removal of excess topsoil, West High School has been a busy place the past few weeks.
“We anticipate, weather permitting, that turf will begin to be installed by the end of July. Our ideal situation is to have the field available for the start of fall sports practice, so we will see how Mother Nature cooperates.”
Just last week, Waukesha North Athletic Director Brian Schlei submitted a photo to The Freeman of the groundbreaking ceremony at his school.
See TURF, PAGE 3B
The first rolls of turf were installed on the football field at Waukesha South on Monday.
See TURF on Page B03
Waukesha schools $230K away from making synthetic turf project a reality
District hopes SC Waukesha commitment gives fundraising final boost
By Arthur Thomas
WAUKESHA – As the members of Waukesha School Board tried to sort out what motions and votes they needed to make on Wednesday, the supporters of the Field of Many Dreams project could barely contain their excitement.
“We’re this close to artificial turf,” Waukesha West High School Principal David LaBorde said to Head Football Coach Steve Rux, holding his fingers less than an inch apart.
A large financial commitment from SC Waukesha for field rental has given the project momentum after several years with little traction.
“The thought of having a turf field is exciting to me, but it’s more exciting to our players,” Rux told the board.
The district has touted the project to install synthetic fields at all three high schools as a way to reduce injuries, make the fields consistently available to more activities, host WIAA playoff games and reduce maintenance costs.
After the board approved the project, supporters streamed into the hallway outside the board room. There were smiles and handshakes all around.
The district will now have until May 1 to raise roughly $232,000. If the efforts fall short, the project will have to return to the board.
Director of Facilities Glen Norder said he feels comfortable that the athletic directors will reach the fundraising goal. He added that it will be much easier now to ask businesses for support. He told the board’s Finance and Facilities committee on Monday that when he started trying to raise $1.5 million for the project, many people had told him to come back when it was closer to reality.
Despite passing out of committee 5-0, the proposal’s future wasn’t entirely clear going into the board meeting.
See TURF, PAGE 8A
Snow still covers much of the field at Waukesha South’s Ken Hollub Stadium.The School Board is working on a plan to get artificial turf fields at all three high schools.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
Turf From Page 1A