Packers Foundation Donates $100K to Sports Fields Project
Packer Pride is alive in South Milwaukee. On Wednesday, The Green Bay Packers Foundation announced it has awarded $100,000 to help the South Milwaukee School District complete the renovation of its football field, track, and baseball and softball fields.
The gift is part of a total of $1.5 million in impact grants to eight Brown, Dane, and Milwaukee County nonprofit organizations.
“We’re so excited that the Green Bay Packers Foundation saw the promise in our project,” Interim Superintendent Jim Shaw said. “We’re working hard to provide our students the facilities they deserve. We know that academics and athletics go hand in hand in a school system. You lift up one and the other follows.”
The project was launched with a $1 million grant from the Bucyrus Foundation to rejuvenate Spaltholz Field and convert it from a grass playing field to one with cutting-edge artificial turf. The grant spurred the District to include the other facilities that also needed renovation in its $3.8 million Field Surface Improvement Project.
“Our fields and track have served us well, but they’ve become increasingly delicate and problematic over the years. Teams couldn’t practice on them for fear of damaging them before games, and upkeep became a real problem,” Athletics and Activities Director Ante Udovicic said. “With artificial turf on the football field and infields of the softball and baseball stadiums along with improved drainage, we’ll get more use out of them – and not just for our athletes but for our physical education and recreation departments.”
While the School Board has committed to paying for the entire $3.8 million project – it won’t have to. The $100,000 Packers Foundation Impact Grant will be added to the $1 million Bucyrus grant. The Launching a Legacy Campaign – a committee of community leaders has fundraised to help pay for the project. The committee has a goal of raising $1.4 million and recently cut a check to the District for $250,000.
“This project is about more than playing fields,” Launching a Legacy co-chair Jeffery Dess said. “There’s a lot of pride that comes with this type of investment in our community. Our students have something new and exciting to be proud of, and so do our residents. So many local businesses and alumnae have pitched in to help us meet our goal. We’ve still got a long way to go, but it's obvious to me how important our students are to this community.”
Construction began In April and is nearly a month ahead of schedule. The centerpiece, the football field is nearly completed. Asphalt has been poured for the track and field facilities with the new, modern track surface to come later this summer. The baseball field excavation is underway, as is the leveling of the outfield, with work on the softball field to start in the fall.
“We’ve got something more than just a new football field and new ball fields. There’s nothing like this in our region – maybe even in our state. Our students and other teams are going to be excited to play here, and we get to show them our Rocket pride,” Udovicic said.