Slowly, but surely, the plan to raise the $1 million needed to completely renovate the Schumann Stadium football and track complex at Menomonee Falls High School is making headway.
"Persistence is my middle name," joked Indian Athletic Director Ryan Anderson of the plan.
Anderson reported that for the project to go forward this year with a new artificial turf field, the drop-dead commitment deadline is May 1.
"That's because it takes about six to eight weeks to tear out the old field, put in vertical drainage and put in the new field," he said.
A major part of the new plan is to also put in permanent bathrooms and team rooms on the site that would allow the stadium complex, which Anderson calls one of the most underutilized in the entire district, to fully blossom and be used by many more groups than it currently is.
Putting in the artificial turf would alone save the district $40,000-$50,000 a year in maintenance costs, Anderson said.
What's holding back the project, which has north of $300,000 raised, is a lack of corporate sponsors in tight financial times. A major player in the area was approached earlier this year but refused to commit at this time. Anderson said he is going to put together another plan and approach the organization again.
Anderson has been extremely encouraged by the growing number of smaller fundraising projects and hopes they serve as a basis for some even larger ones in the future.
These smaller projects include former Falls East football players Dan Johnson and Mike Teeters raising over $7,000 in a recent event at Krueger's Entertainment Center; a community bowl-a-thon that brought in over 300 bowlers and raised over $11,000; a commitment from the Optimist Club of $25,000; and $1,700 raised from school PA announcer Jerry Mislang's annual dodgeball tournament.
There have also been larger commitments including a partnership with the Junior Indians Athletic Program for around $150,000 and a promise of over $100,000 from the Menomonee Falls Booster Club over the course of multiple years.
"They're donating about 15 percent of net sales every quarter," said Anderson of the Booster Club.
The Booster Club's Capital Improvement Committee, which helped fund the first part of the stadium renovation in 2007, including a new track and new entrance facilities, is also greatly involved again.
Part of what people like Johnson and Teeters are doing include an effort to raise enough money to have the new field named after the late legendary Falls football coach Jim Jeskewitz who passed away late last fall after a battle with cancer.
Anderson said the school board is still working on policies covering naming rights and facilities sponsorships.
"I've also been impressed in that every couple of weeks or so checks come in from alumni ranging anywhere from $100 to $1,000," said Anderson. "That's very impressive."
The field portion of the project is part of a larger plan to renovate the entire athletic complex. There are two parts to the project, Anderson said, and glossy brochures detailing it have been distributed throughout the area. In the end, it will affect five sports: football, soccer, softball, track and baseball on the high school level and baseball and football on the Junior Indians level.
Anderson said the bigger picture to all this is to attract interested families who may also be impressed by the newly refurbished academic wings of the school, including the vastly upgraded science areas.
For more information on the entire project, contact Anderson at AndeRya@sdmfschools.org.
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