If fundraising could start today, the would be in line to receive a football program to fund installation of artificial turf at Schumann Stadium.
The remaining $500,000 would be raised privately through various fundraising efforts, and the district wouldn’t spend a dime — to install the field, that is.
However, in roughly 10 to 12 years, the same field will likely need replacement at a price tag of $400,000 to $450,000, which is a cost that the district will need to assume.
Where that funding will come from, and how a new field fits into long-term planning of the athletic facilities at are questions before they allow fundraising to begin.
While Falls is early in the process of bringing artificial turf to MFHS, several districts around the state have already found a way to make artificial work both on the field and in the district pocketbooks.
Still a developing idea in Falls
There are still several hurdles to jump before fundraising can begin for artificial turf. Currently, the School Board will need to give Athletic Director Dave Petroff and Facilities Director Dwight Crouse approval to launch a $5,000 five-year facilities study.
The purpose of the study is to give cost analysis of several future projects, and their impacts on different groups at the school. The softball fields will need to be brought up to WIAA guidelines within three years, soccer field updates are needed, funding for a new fieldhouse is in consideration, as are bathroom and locker room upgrades to Schumann Stadium.
“We want to look at the whole picture. The turf started the process, but in the meantime a lot of the issues need to be resolved,” Petroff said. “We’re hoping we get through this process and we can look at fundraising for some of these improvements.”
New artificial turf plays an integral role in the future facility plans since it would free up a practice field so a new softball field could be constructed in its stead. The artificial turf at Schumann Stadium would allow the varsity football team to practice on the game field.
Fundraised today; six-digit cost later
In an era of tight educational budgets, one of the biggest questions the study will need to answer is the eventual replacement cost for the field once its useful life is spent. The answer to that question is different, depending on the district.
Shorewood High School Athletic Director Bill Haury said the district installed artificial turf at the high school in 2009. Similarly, the field in Shorewood was initially installed with private funding.
In an urban area, with a high population density, Haury said the district is finding success funding the field’s replacement cost through the rental business. During the eight months of use, he said an average of three outside groups rent the field each week. The money from field rentals is placed into a fund that will be emptied in roughly 10 years for a new field.
“There isn’t really an ongoing expense, either,” Haury said. “In case of rips, or if the field needs grading, it’s usually covered in a maintenance warranty from the field manufacturer.”
Haury said the district rents out the field to schools, athletic clubs, a semi-professional football team and collegiate teams. It also had numerous schools cancel a game on their field — due to sloppy conditions — and head over to Shorewood.
At the Kettle Moraine School District, Athletic Director Mike Fink said officials took a different approach.
After the field was installed, Fink said the district apportioned 16 slots for businesses to place advertising on the field. Each business purchases a five-year contract, and the prices vary depending on the ad location. Again, the ad revenue is placed in a fund for the field’s replacement.
“People were very eager and willing to get on the field and advertise,” Fink said.
Menomonee Falls may take yet another approach to funding the field replacement. Petroff said the typical maintenance costs on the current grass field are about $40,000 a year, which includes labor and materials costs.
Petroff said the total differed costs of field maintenance could be set aside in a fund, and used for the replacement in 10 to 12 years. At roughly $40,000 a year, the math fits. Petroff said he also is considering renting the field, and hosting a few WIAA playoff games for additional revenue.
“We have to show the School Board the costs savings and the possible revenue that could be generated by renting the facility,” Petroff said. “Then take the savings and put them in a different account.”
The School Board will either approve or deny the request to launch the study during its meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at . If approved, the findings in from study will be presented for discussion during the Finance Committee's meeting Nov. 7.
If everything goes to plan, fundraising could begin in December.