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
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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

OSHKOSH - The badger state crowned new royalty in Oshkosh this summer. Alyssa Bohm, formerly Miss Rock River Valley, won the Miss Wisconsin pageant Saturday. 

Along with the crown and title, Bohm earned a $10,000 scholarship and will represent Wisconsin at the 2020 Miss America Competition.

Bohm hopes to use her platform to enhance opportunities for individuals with special needs. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Strawberry farmers wait all year long for three weeks each summer when their crops will be ready to harvest. Bad weather across the Midwest this spring left those producers behind schedule.

Mike Matushak with Engelberry Farm in Merrill says the strawberry harvest in Southern Wisconsin usually come sooner than it does in the North. Producers a little further south in Waupaca already rang in their harvesting season with a strawberry festival Saturday.

+ Read More

MOUNT PLEASANT - Racine police say an 18-year-old man who was shot and killed by a Mount Pleasant officer was armed and ignored commands to drop his weapon.

+ Read More
St. Anne Fest Draws ThousandsSubmitted: 06/16/2019

Play Video

WAUSAU - You might see softball, live music, and a polka-themed church service driving down Bridge Street in Wausau this weekend. The award-winning St Anne Fest is back in town.

"It's a big three day event," said John Lang, one of the organizers. "We have great music, good food, softball games, dart tournaments going on. We have all kinds of events that bring in the community."

The annual festival is famous for its egg rolls and fresh deep-fried cheese curds. Ten thousand dollars in cash prizes well be raffled off on Sunday.

Michele Norrbom said the event is really a celebration of everything Wausau.


+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Families shower dads with gifts, love and maybe even a surprise breakfast on Father's Day.

The Rock Mission Center in Eagle River combined all three off those for families in their community this morning.

"Can't think of a better thing to sell fathers than that love that you would have with your father on father's day at breakfast," event organizer Joe Jovanovic said. 

The pancake spread was inspired by Cory Meyer who brought a special meaning to the meal.

"Pancakes are a big thing in my family," Meyer said. "My grandpa passed away back in 2010 and his last dinner was pancakes. That led to a poem 'Pancakes In Heaven' which is in honor of him that turned into a magazine which now goes to nursing home shut-ins, veterans and prisoners."

Meyer's poem motivated the Rock Center to find their own message for Father's this year.

"Mothers are the love and nurture in the home. I think the Fathers are the hope portion because when a child really needs something that a dad can give, it's hope," Jovanovic said.

Jovanovic shared his own personal connection to the meaning of hope.

"This is superman's family crest and on the planet Krypton this stands for hope. That's the rock, love and hope," Jovanovic said.

And to all the fathers out there...

"Thank you for everything, because that's exactly where it all comes from."

The Rock Mission Center hosts dozens of events every month.



+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Mountain bikers raced through the Washburn Lake Trail System Sunday. More than forty bikers competed in the RASTA Rally bike race.

Racers either biked an 8-mile or 19-mile course. Jett Biolo got 2nd in his age group and said he liked the race course this year.

"Last year we had to go all the way up some of the really big hills here," said Biolo. "This year it's more singletrack so I really enjoyed that."

+ Read More

MADISON - Democratic legislators are complaining that their Republican colleagues didn't give advance notice to them or the Madison Police Department about a proposed security study of the state Capitol that would require the department's involvement.

The state's budget committee adopted the measure Tuesday along party lines. The full Legislature and governor haven't approved the study, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: