Rhinelander school board sees concept drawings of sports complex
School, community complex slated for fall 2020 completion
By Eileen Persike
The architects hired for the Hodag Sports Complex project brought several concept drawings to the Rhinelander School Board Capital Projects Ad Hoc Committee Monday. The complex will likely include a domed sports facility, two softball fields, a JV baseball field and a football/soccer practice field as well as additional parking. Board members and some coaches in attendance provided input to John Kneer of Rettler Corporation on what they would like to see in the complex.
In addition to the initial concepts, the committee requested Kneer draw a plan that would include creating the JV baseball diamond across the street from the high school, and moving the existing soccer field to the new complex. Other topics of discussion included snow removal, storage, shared spaces and connectivity. It was noted that the well-known rock outcropping behind the school must not be disturbed. The architects said they were working on a plan to showcase the rock that is painted annually by graduating seniors.
The committee is recommending a 240-foot by 500-foot dome that would be large enough to contain a 210-foot by 360-foot soccer/football field, a sprint track and four hard-court surfaces for tennis, pickle ball and basketball (a sport court floor would need to be laid down over the tennis court) as well as accommodating gymnastics, among other amenities. Kneer said the football/soccer field would have enough space for two softball diamonds, each with 185-foot outfields.
The dome facility will be open for community use, and is also expected to be a revenue-generating venue for sports tournaments year round.
Committee chair Mike Roberts said he would like to have a decision made on dome components in August and put the construction of the dome out to bids in September. Kneer said a realistic goal would be to have the complex completed by fall 2020, with construction beginning next spring.
Discussion of the complex began late last year when Dr. Lee Swank donated $500,000 to the Hodag Schools Foundation (HSF) as seed money for the construction of an indoor practice facility. Since then HSF has secured additional funding and the school board voted in June to designate $5.7 million from the district’s fund balance to help pay for the facility.