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Turf Will Make Stadium 'Special Place,' Coach Says

Bartholomew said turf will allow community to utilize field year-round.

The new artifical surface at the football stadium will allow the community to utilize the field year-round and make the stadium one of the top five in southeastern Wisconsin, head football coach Mike Bartholomew said.

"I'm very excited for the community," he said. "I think it really makes (the stadium) a special place."

Bartholomew spoke the day after, commonly referred to by the brand name FieldTurf. He was on a committee that included band director Amy Fuchs, athletic director Greg Lampe and buildings and grounds manager Larry Savage that interviewed potential companies and studied bids.

"We absolutely did our due diligence to make sure we're getting an excellent product," he said.

The district has budgeted $1,042,370 to complete the project. The money will come from within the existing budget and won't require taxes to be raised, though Bartholomew acknowledged some of the residents' unrest over the price tag.

He noted the money is coming largely from restricted funds that can only be used for community projects like this one, and not for the district's general operations. According to minutes of a Feb. 20 committee meeting, the district is using leftover funds from this year's capital improvement projects budget, reserve funds in the community education/community services account, a one-time payment for a tax-incremental financing district closing in Franklin this spring and an unanticipated payment in Medicaid reimbursement.

Those are all one-time, non-recurring sources available in the current fiscal year, Business Services Director Cathy Cramer said.

Bartholomew said Oak Creek and other schools such as Greendale and Arrowhead have installed the turf in part because of Wisconsin's brutal weather. The grounds crew does what it can to maintain the field, but it takes a beating with all of the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen football games in the fall, he said.

With FieldTurf, all those and more activities can take place regardless of the weather, Bartholomew said. Officials expect marching band performances, soccer games, Oak Creek Youth Football games, WIAA playoffs, physical education activities and other community events to be held there.

Students started getting excited when FieldTurf , Bartholomew said. But it's been a long time coming -- it's been discussed throughout the coach's five years in Oak Creek and about another five years before that.

"There's differing opinions about it," he said. "But I think the school board did the right thing moving forward and I think it's going to be a positive."

Mike in OC March 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I'm sure it will be wonderful but I don't think anyone has justified the expense. Just because taxes did not have to be increased it doesn't mean it's free money. Could those funds have been better utilized? I wonder how much this field will really be used for non-football activities. There is a brand new soccer stadium over at East.... and ironically the (boys) Soccer teams practice at West, not sure about the girls. I don't see the OCYF league using it because they do their thing over at the Legion. What other uses for the field could there be? And as a disclaimer, I have children in the district so they will benefit from this.
Glen D Ferri March 16, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Mike, to answer your question about the Girls Soccer Teams, they use the OC West Middle School facilities for practice and the OC East Field for their games. Based on information I've received in the past, anything that a "Boys Team" has, must also be accorded to the "Girls Team" in the same sport and vice versa. That's the main reason why the Girls cannot play their home soccer games at the OC Community Stadium in the Spring when there's no football. Assuming the new field at the Community Stadium is lined for both Football and Soccer and game conflicts between football and boys soccer can be worked out, there is the opportunity to see more soccer actually at the high school for both the Boys and Girls.

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