SC Waukesha negotiating partnership to give district $600,000 for turf project

Published on: 1/29/2014

The Fields of Many Dreams project looks like it will get the financial boost that it needed.

SC Waukesha, a longtime soccer league in Waukesha, could provide the school district with $600,000 for the project, one that would install artificial multipurpose ProGrass field turf at the stadiums of the district's three public high schools.

School Board member Joseph Como, chairman of the Finance and Facilities Committee, said there was discussion with SC Waukesha at the last meeting, but there has not been a recommendation to the full board yet.

But talks are ongoing to enter into a partnership.

"We encouraged SC Waukesha to move forward to continue to talk with our superintendent and Glen Norder (the district's director of facilities) to strike an agreement," Como said. "So they're in the process of building that agreement right now."

Como said SC Waukesha would give the project $100,000 in the first year and $50,000 over the remaining years of the agreement, which is 12 years.

With this donation, each school would receive $200,000. If the agreement with SC Waukesha receives board approval and gets contributions from the School District of Waukesha worth $250,500 in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 budgets (which could also be included), it would leave the sites combined less than $200,000 short of the $1.65 million total for all three schools. The fields cost between $500,000 and around $575,000.

But according to the partnership proposal, the district's contribution could be lowered by $82,500 (a 5-percent discount) if the project is done this year along with Carroll University and Catholic Memorial and Sussex Hamilton high schools.

With the new contributions, South would only have to raise around $13,000, North $95,000 and West $73,000. Construction could start this spring and a tentative timeline is to have the fields ready by the fall.

Waukesha North Athletic Director Brian Schlei said he's confident the community will continue to get behind this project.

"I think as we look to finish out this last piece when people are looking at $600,000 vs. now and with it being in sight that goes a long way to closing the gap where people are willing to participate," Schlei said.

Since the project was first introduced more than three years ago it has been an uphill climb in raising money without district funding.

Weather's impact

Meanwhile, the winter weather continues to wreak havoc on the Waukesha School District.

For the second time this month, the district closed its schools for two straight days this week due to the dangerously-cold temperatures and wind chills.

A wind chill advisory was issued by the National Weather Service for Monday in Waukesha and a wind chill warning on Tuesday.

The district initially said on Sunday that schools would be open on Monday, but as wind chills continued to drop overnight, Superintendent Todd Gray made the decision early Monday morning that its schools would be closed.

The district will have to make up both days at a later date this school year. It already has to make up one of the days that were canceled earlier this month due to the cold.

The cold weather also forced the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to cancel all day and evening classes/activities on Monday and Tuesday.

Carroll University canceled all Monday evening classes as even colder air pushed in. The university was open on Tuesday.