District Celebrates Field Project Milestone
September 8th, 2023, was an important day in the history of South Milwaukee Schools – it was the first day the newly renovated Spaltholz Field at Bucyrus Stadium hosted an official sporting event. Fittingly, it was the varsity home opener against rival Cudahy.
“It was a really special night,” Superintendent Deidre Roemer said. “We recognized our community members who gave to the Launching a Legacy effort, our marching band, cheer squad, and Poms dance team all got to use the new field. We’re looking forward to a lot of ‘firsts’ coming up: first soccer game, first track meet, first baseball and softball games. We have so much to celebrate.”
The road to that first game, however, started on a cold and drizzly Monday in April when demolition began on the grass field, the track surrounding it, and the surface beneath it. That first shovel of soil launched a $3.8 million Field Surface Improvement Program that’s still ongoing.
The football field was first. Contractors rebuilt and improved the drainage of the field and added the subsurface and artificial turf. Included in the renovations is new pavement and surface for the track, field goals for the football field, a new sound system, and a new scoreboard.
Outside of Bucyrus Stadium, the softball and baseball fields are being renovated, too. Both fields have new artificial turf for baseball and softball infields, along with new fencing and improved outfield grass.
The project will be officially completed in the fall of 2024 with the installation of a recognition of the donors to the effort – and they played a big part.
The entire project started with a $1 million donation from the Bucyrus Foundation specifically earmarked for synthetic turf for the football field. The School Board committed in the spring to ensuring the project’s completion while the Launching a Legacy Committee, a group of community members, committed to raising $1.4 million of the entire price tag.
“We now have some amazing facilities for our students,” Athletics and Activities Director Ante Udovicic said. “It hasn’t been that way for some time.”
Indeed, the student body, let alone the community, rarely got to use the old football field. Football practice was regularly held elsewhere out of fear that the grass surface might be too damaged to use for games. That meant it was unavailable for the marching band, cheer, or dance to practice, or soccer teams to use for games.
Unfortunately, due to weather conditions around the country, the track surface company was forced to delay the finishing of the track. As a result, the number of football home games using the field was limited, however, the surface was completed in time for the soccer season.
“We had students on the field as soon as construction was completed and we were waiting for the track surface to be applied,” Udovicic. “Our teams had pretty much a whole summer practicing on the new field. We’re enjoying the soccer games and looking forward to track, baseball, and softball starting in the spring.”