School board committee approves concept for new softball fields
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
The School District of Rhinelander Special Projects Ad Hoc Committee Monday endorsed a conceptualized plan to place two softball fields near Mike Webster Stadium. The fields would be located near the concession stand-restroom building currently under construction at the stadium.
A feasibility study was requested by the committee at an April 9 meeting following a presentation by members of the administration and softball coach D.J. DeMeyer. At that time DeMeyer said supporters and community groups had raised about $150,000 in in-kind donations that could be used to fund the project.
Point of Beginning, the engineering firm hired by the district, offered three plans, which committee chair Mike Roberts said were estimated to cost within $20,000 of each other.
“It didn’t really come down to cost,” Roberts said. “It kind of came down to what we had and the idea that we’re spending $400-plus thousand dollars on this bathroom and concession stand, it made sense to put the softball fields in a location where they could utilize that.”
Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said the base cost for the ball fields ranged from $240,000 to $270,000 for each of the three options presented. That amount will increase due to the need to relocate one of practice fields to accommodate the ball fields.
DeMeyer expects to meet with a company that has agreed to perform much of the work as a donation. Jacobi said once they know how much that work will offset the overall cost, the committee will have an idea how much more money will need to be raised.
Construction of the concession stand building, which was a class project for the RHS building trades class, is ahead of schedule, according to district business manager Marta Kwiatkowski who noted it is expected to be operational by the fall sports season.