Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Rhinelander schools made historic $5.7 million pledge for indoor athletic complex; undecided on permanent dome or steel structureSubmitted: 06/10/2019
Story By Ben Meyer

Rhinelander schools made historic $5.7 million pledge for indoor athletic complex; undecided on permanent dome or steel structure
RHINELANDER - The School District of Rhinelander made a record-breaking investment Monday night, pledging $5.7 million to a new indoor athletic facility.

It's more than the district has ever spent on a single project.

The school board narrowed its options to either a 90,000-square-foot air-supported permanent dome or a 50,000-square foot steel-sided indoor complex. It will make that decision after hearing from planners and contractors in the coming weeks.

"This is one of the greatest days for Rhinelander," said Hodag Schools Foundation President Dave Heck. "This is going to be an absolute differentiator and a game changer for Rhinelander. This is an incredible night for Rhinelander. It's a major positive for northern Wisconsin and the community."


Last year, local physician Dr. Lee Swank pledged $500,000 for such a facility. Heck's organization raised an additional $700,000. Along with the district's pledge Monday night, the school has about $7 million for facility construction and maintenance.

"We need something permanent, indoors, no matter what it is. It can be a dome. It can be an indoor facility. But we need something permanent. That's really what the school decided tonight to do," Heck said.

The board's unanimous vote came after passionate lobbying by a large crowd at the special meeting.

"I can't urge the board enough to be a board of action. This is good for our community," former Rhinelander teacher and soccer coach Dan Millot said. "I urge you guys to take the risk. Take the risk. Build the facility."

The board scrapped the idea of building a seasonal dome over the football and soccer field at Mike Webster Stadium, which was on the table to begin the night. That plan would have called for the dome to be erected each fall and taken down in the spring.

A potential permanent dome would likely be built adjacent to Mike Webster Stadium on the facility's west side. District business manager Marta Kwiatkowski estimated the permanent dome would cost between $2 million and $3 million, including a required fire suppression system. Annual maintenance costs would be $156,000. The 100-yard field inside could accommodate a full soccer game, two softball games, or many other uses.

The steel structure would cost nearly $7 million, but have minimal maintenance costs. Its full length would be about 50 yards.

Board president Ron Counter said he prefers the dome, but is excited about either option. Either would be the school's first major expansion of space since 1958.

"There's more opportunity for the community. There's more opportunity for the school, with the [dome], but both of them are a huge upgrade from anything that we have now," Counter said.

Board members Ann Munninghoff-Eshelman and David Holperin said they also support the dome, while Duane Frey and Judy Conlin lean toward the steel-sided facility. Mike Roberts did not express a clear opinion. Ron Lueneburg, Mary Peterson, and Benjamin Roskoskey were absent from the meeting.

Counter was clear he wants the process to go forward quickly.

"The area has a tendency, on big projects, to drag its feet. It gets nickeled and dimed. The longer we go, the more this project's going to cost," he said.

The board also decided to make another major athletic upgrade on Monday.

It unanimously agreed to spend $600,000 to put in artificial turf at Mike Webster Stadium.

That should be ready for football and soccer season in the fall.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

PRICE COUNTY - We'll never know exactly why a plane broke up in the sky over Price County, killing six people.

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final report on the accident over Catawba in July of 2017.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Scammers hope to get their hands on your money and they'll try to reach you any way possible.

People from all backgrounds can fall victim to scams.

Scammers go where they can reach people, which means they spend a lot of time on social media. This puts people at risk of leaking their private information.

Many scams used to only attack the elderly and take away their golden years, but that is changing.

One law enforcement official says everyone is being attacked.


+ Read More

Play Video

ONEIDA COUNTY - Following a summer filled with gun violence including deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin are taking steps to end the epidemic.

+ Read More

Play Video

CRANDON - The Ojibwe people want to share their culture with the people of Wisconsin.

+ Read More

Play Video

ELCHO - Devastating storms hit the Elcho community back in July. Many trees are still down across the region and some people worry the cleanup process isn't going fast enough.

Life may be returning to normal for some people. Others wonder if the forest debris will ever be hauled away.

"The area was out of electricity for six days," said 38-year seasonal resident Ben Merry. "All my friends and family members and so forth that are up there told me, um, they recommended me that I not come up."

The damage left by severe thunderstorms that hit on July 19 shocked residents like Ben Merry and his wife.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - People in the Northwoods often travel a long way to get specialized healthcare not offered locally.

With the turn of a shovel Friday, Rhinelander's Aspirus Clinic moved one step closer solving that issue. A ground breaking ceremony cleared the way for a 21,000 square foot expansion.

The current facility opened in 2008 and employs 73 people within a 28,000 square foot building.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Wisconsin produces 90 to 95 percent of all the ginseng in the whole country. 

Ninety-five percent of that crop is grown in Marathon County, according to the Wisconsin DATCP.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: