Just one more approval from the School Board is needed before fundraising can begin to install artificial turf at Schumann Stadium next year.
The School Board on Monday reviewed the research findings from a refined cost-benefit analysis of the outdoor athletic facilities at . The report included more precise cost estimates for installing, maintaining and eventually replacing the new turf field at Schumann Stadium. It also included plans to accommodate new softball regulations, which will go into effect for the 2013-14 season.
According to the report, the installation cost of the new field is expected to reach $800,000 at the high end, and could cost less depending on construction needs. All $800,000 would be funded by the private sector, and a $200,000 donation from the Junior Indians football program is expected to jumpstart the process.
“I want to make it clear that until all funds are raised from the private sector, there will be no projects moving forward,” said School Board Member Ron Bertieri, who also sits on the Finance Committee.
If the School Board approves the facilities plan at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, fundraising will begin immediately afterward. Athletic Director Dave Petroff expects to reach the fundraising goal by February 2012, and the field could be completely installed by August.
Once the field is installed, it would be the responsibility of the school district to cover maintenance and replacement costs.
Over the life of the field, annual maintenance is estimated to cost $5,000, which is $20,000 less than the current yearly maintenance expense for a grass field. The turf has an expected life span of 10 to 15 years, and the $20,000 difference in maintenance costs would be placed in a special fund to cover the inevitable $420,000 replacement cost.
The district also plans to generate an additional $20,000 from rental fees paid by outside groups that would like to use the field. According to the report, Middleton High School and Hart Park in Wauwatosa both generate approximately $50,000 a year in rental revenue.
As part of the overall plan for Schumann Stadium, permanent bathroom facilities would also be included. School Board Member Faith VanderHorst said the new bathrooms could be key to generating rental income, and suggested the cost of bathroom construction should also be fundraised from interested parties.
The district is also considering naming rights on the field from significant contributors to pull in additional revenue. At Kettle Moraine, naming rights rake in $260,000 every five years. Naming rights in Falls would last for the life of the field.
New turf installation at Schumann Stadium would be the first domino to fall in the district’s five-year plan and is key to opening up field space on the MFHS campus for softball and baseball.
In 2013-14, there will be new statewide regulations for size of girls’ softball fields. The 5-year plan includes a design for a new diamond on an existing practice field at . A practice field could be removed since teams could practice on the new turf field without destroying it.
Building a diamond on campus would eliminate bussing costs, and cut down on scheduling conflicts at the Falls Little League Complex – the current home for the girls team.
Petroff said the cost of the softball field could be fundraised, but the district may have to foot the bill if private donations aren’t obtained.
The five-year plan also includes a new diamond for the boys’ baseball team, which would also be on campus. Trenary Field isn’t a lock to be available, and there is space to fence in the diamond at Ben Franklin.