Cost to upgrade district’s outdoor athletic facilities could be nearly $10 million
Board has not taken action to approve any aspect of plan
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Comprehensive upgrades to the Marshfield School District’s outdoor athletic facilities could cost close to $10 million.
Cost projections were discussed at a May 11 school board meeting by John Kneer of Rettler Corporation, a Stevens Point-based landscape architecture firm hired by the district to assess current athletic facilities and develop plans to potentially upgrade them.
The board did not take action on any of the information presented by Rettler and has not committed funds toward the proposed athletic facility improvements to this point. Kneer did not present cost estimates for potential remodeling to the inside of Marshfield High School at the May 11 meeting, though that has been identified as an area for potential improvements.
“It is important for everybody to remember — when John (brought) out the numbers tonight — this is all in. This is a Cadillac plan. We’re going to be breaking the numbers down,” said board member Mark Konrardy. “It is the Cadillac (plan), and we can take and reduce her down to a Chevrolet.”
“This is a plan of now and the future depending on what we may want to do and depending on the funding from here on,” Konrardy added.
How we got here
Rettler developed plans to improve the district’s athletic facilities with the help of a special committee — made up of citizens, board members, and district staff — as well as community survey feedback.
Respondents to the public survey voted an eight-lane running track as the most pressing area of need regarding the middle and high schools’ athletic facilities. Also high on the list of priorities were “playable” outdoor practice fields, parking, a larger fitness and weight room, and a synthetic turf field.
About 64 percent of respondents held the position that Marshfield High School’s outdoor athletic facilities were not in adequate condition. About 66 percent of those surveyed said the district’s athletic facilities as a whole did not measure up to those of similarly-sized schools.
Cost by site
Four main locations are being looked at for improvements: Marshfield High School; Marshfield High School West, which is a site largely set between Tiny Tigers Court and Becker Road; Madison Elementary School; and Marshfield Middle School. Kneer called the cost estimates, which were broken down into line items, “very detailed.”
The most expensive site, by far, would be Marshfield High School, which includes plans for a new 4,000-seat multisport stadium with a synthetic playing surface. The total cost for the high school site projects to be about $5.8 million. Parking would be added to the south of the high school’s current student lot to accommodate the stadium, which would lie just east of the high school.
The current baseball diamond at the high school site would be displaced by the multisport stadium, and thus plans call for a new one to be located at the Marshfield High School West site. In addition, the Marshfield High School West site would have a multisurface practice field and 100 additional parking spaces. The projected cost to create the Marshfield High School West site is about $1.4 million.
Madison Elementary would be the least costly site to develop with the addition of two practice fields — one for soccer and one for football — and two softball diamonds in the plans. The Madison site would cost about $1.1 million to develop.
At Marshfield Middle School, Kneer said Beell Stadium would become a “flexible field” space with the west bleachers being eliminated. A new six-lane track would replace the current one, and a new multiuse athletic field would be developed inside the track. Plans show that the middle school improvements would cost about $1.5 million. Kneer said there would be “ongoing maintenance” for the tennis courts at the site. Plans also include space for pole vaulting and long and triple jump events.
“This is beyond (a) Band-Aid approach,” Kneer said after going over cost estimates before the board and public.