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School District of Rhinelander looks to update athletic facilitiesSubmitted: 10/17/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


RHINELANDER - Most schools have to deal with tight budgets. Often extracurricular needs get put on hold for other areas that need funding.

But the Rhinelander School District says they can't put off upgrades for the athletic facilities any longer.

Mike Webster stadium is home to the Hodags. The track has fallen into disrepair, and things like the bathrooms and field lights have become outdated.

The track is so bad, other schools refuse to come to Rhinelander.

"Right now no schools will come to a track meet here to run on this track because it's in such bad shape. They don't want their athletes to get hurt. Other things we've heard, when Special Olympics uses the track they don't allow their athletes to run on the first two lanes," says Mike Roberts, from the Capital Projects Committee.

The district puts curricular needs first when it comes to the budget. But when the track became a safety issue for kids in gym class, it's not just about sporting events anymore.

There are also benefits the district and the city can expect from the upgrade. When the school upgraded the tennis courts, other districts started bringing conference matches to Rhinelander.

"That's a big deal. That means that athletes from all over our region are coming to Rhinelander; their families are coming, they're eating in our restaurants, sometimes spending the night," says Superintendent Kelli Jacobi.

The district already had money in the budget earmarked for track resurfacing, but have put off doing it. If the school board agrees to commit to spending that money on the track, the Hodag Schools Foundation will commit to raising money to help with all the other upgrades.

The board will take up the issue Monday night.



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