Launching a Legacy
South Milwaukee Launching a Legacy Campaign To Revitalize Outdoor Athletic Faculties
South Milwaukee Launching a Legacy Campaign to Revitalize Outdoor Athletic Facilities
South Milwaukee student-athletes give their all in the classroom and to their teams.
The athletic fields, on the other hand, have taken it all – from decades of students pounding up and down the field or around the bases. Mother nature has taken her toll, too. Flooding and poor soil has meant inferior field conditions, and as a result they are often not available to use. For example, the marching band can’t practice on the current field because of the fear of damaging it. The same goes for Poms and the cheerleaders, and during the school day, gym classes can’t use it.
“They’re not the quality our students or the community deserves,” Athletic Director Ante Udovicic said. “They can and should be better for our students and to showcase South Milwaukee as a place where students want to come and play.”
There’s a groundswell of support to change things building in the community. It’s led by a group of community leaders and fueled by donors who want to make a difference for students.
Recently, the Bucyrus Foundation announced it was donating $1 million to help replace the football field with artificial turf. That generous gift served as a catalyst for the Launching a Legacy Campaign – an effort to raise enough money – $4.4 million – to put artificial turf on the football field and the infields of the softball and baseball fields.
The campaign would also replace the surface of the track, move the pole vault pit out of the parking lot, and improve the drainage on all of the fields to mitigate future flooding.
“Launching a Legacy is a whole-community effort to get our kids the playfields and track they deserve,” said Jeff Dess, who co-chairs, along with John Galewski, the Launching a Legacy committee.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make South Milwaukee’s sports facilities truly remarkable. Not only is that great for our students, but it makes it easier to attract new residents and businesses to the city.”
The committee has applied for grants with the NFL and MLB to add to the big start from the Bucyrus donation and is offering naming opportunities for large donations, like the football press box, various scoreboards, the ticket booth, and more.
“We’re already on our way,” Galewski said. “We have almost $1.7 million in commitments from our initial donors.”
Those donors, many of whom took the opportunity to add their names to the parts of the field, were at the last home game in October and presented the Launching a Legacy committee and school district with ceremonial checks for the project.
“We hope the community sees the opportunity we have right now. This will attract new students to our District while providing an amazing athletic experience for our current students. In addition to football, from track to Poms, softball and baseball to marching band, and our day to day physical education classes and recreation activities, these revitalized fields will be a source of pride for South Milwaukee,” Dess said.