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TRACK/FOOTBALL COMPLEX Project UNFINISHED BUSINESS--BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

January 14, 2020

Proposed Track/Football Complex

January 14, 2020

WAKEFIELD COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

FOOTBALL COMPLEX

UNFINISHED BUSINESS--BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

 

Historical Context:

The Wakefield Community Schools Track/Football Complex project has been “in the works” for at least 15 years.  During my time as the Wakefield Superintendent of Schools (1997 to 2007), our track athletes practiced on our city streets. If for no other reason that the potential risk of serious injury, the very notion of requiring our student athletes to practice on city streets was a nightmare for me as a parent, tax payer, and school superintendent. During my tenure at Wakefield, football practice took place “on the hill” west of the school, and games were played (as they are today) on the City baseball field.  For a school district of approximately 500 students, this arrangement was not appropriate, and for years, representatives of Wakefield Baseball expressed a desire to have a venue other than the baseball diamond for football. During the latter stages of my Wakefield tenure, we began the “conceptualization” process of a Football/Track Complex to be located west of the high school building (the old practice field). In 2009, after my retirement from Wakefield, the competition track component of the proposed multisport complex (track, football, soccer) was completed. Unfortunately, there was also a change in administration around this time as well as an extremely draconian economic recession. As a result, progress toward completion of the proposed Sports Complex project has remained relatively stagnate, and the current track facility has not been utilized to its full potential.

Current Context:

While many rural communities in Nebraska (and elsewhere) are experiencing significant population declines as well as economic hardships that generally accompany population out-migration, Wakefield seems to be thriving. The robust nature of the Wakefield Community is evidenced by a number of salient facts, for example, student enrollment has stayed relatively stable, and the large number of students enrolled in Preschool classes indicate an upward trend in student enrollment.  Additionally, economic development east of Highway 35 as well as successful revitalization of the downtown is illustrative of a flourishing community. Finally, it appears that a significant number of relatively young adults (many of whom are former students) are returning to Wakefield to work and raise their families. This is not a common phenomenon, and if the trend continues, it bodes well for the health of the school district as well as the school community in general.  In a nutshell, while most rural Nebraska communities and school districts are struggling to survive, Wakefield Community and Wakefield Community Schools continues to thrive. 

 

Within the Current Context and The Historical Context:

Given the current positive climate of our school and community, the Wakefield Board of Education believes that this is an appropriate time to move toward completion of the Track/Football Complex. As part of the motivation, the school has the opportunity to pursue a significant grant funding opportunity through a collaborative effort with the City of Wakefield and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. While grant dollars will not cover the total cost of the project, a successful application would amount to approximately 17% of the anticipated cost of the project. 

While the potential for grant dollar assistance from the Department of Economic Development is enticing, it is not the fundamental motivation driving the Board’s desire to move forward with this project. The Wakefield Board of Education firmly believes that it is paramount that our district position itself to continue to be one of the “marquee” school districts in Northeast Nebraska. Over the years, the district has been firmly committed to providing quality educational opportunities and facilities in a constant effort to not only meet the growing and changing educational needs of our students, but also to remain relevant in everything that we do.  The Board believes that the completion of the proposed multisport complex is the next logical step toward fulfilling this goal. The completion of this complex will firmly cement our place in the Northeast Nebraska educational community, and will position the district to be a leading school district for the foreseeable future.

TRACK/FOOTBALL COMPLEX Project UNFINISHED BUSINESS--BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

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