Memorial Field construction 95 percent complete; fundraising campaign picking up steam

Construction efforts at Memorial Field are about 95 percent done, but the project is still far from complete, Physical Plant Director Ed Poprik said.

“Oftentimes, the last 5 percent of the project is the most frustrating, and this is no exception,” he said, adding that winter weather has delayed work.

The district has told the contractors that the remainder of the project must be expedited. The contractors responded that they will finish quickly, weather permitting, Poprik said.

The nearly $3 million project included new west-side bleachers, a temporary bleacher on the eastern side of the field, a draining system that runs water to the sinkhole and replacing the turf. He expects the project will remain within the budget.

Poprik said this construction is only phase one, and other issues including permanent locker rooms and eastern bleachers could be addressed in additional phases when the funding is available.

Much of the remaining work revolves around the brick walkway along Fraser Street. The district is selling engraved bricks for that walkway to raise money for other phases of the project.

The district is selling the bricks for $250 with a goal of raising more than $1 million. The funds will go directly toward future Memorial Field construction.

“Once this project is complete, Memorial Field is not complete,” Poprik said. “So we’re anxious to sew this piece of the project up and move forward with future phases.”

The speed of any future portion of the project could be determined by the brick campaign but ultimately will be decided by the school board.

Board member Jim Pawelczyk requested that the district administration produce a recommendation on how to proceed from here.

And the brick campaign is starting to pick up some steam.

District officials reported about 50 brick sales by Monday evening, but that number climbed to about 75 by Thursday.

Business Administrator Randy Brown attributed the increase to additional communication efforts.

Steps to promote the campaign include a news release; emails to alumni, parents and employees; letters to vendors, district retirees, boosters, parent-teacher organizations, civic groups and local businesses; and additional advertising through Facebook and local media. The planning group hopes to have all those communication efforts completed by the end of the year.