Urbana school committee presents concept plan for stadium renovation project

The Urbana City School District may soon get a newly renovated high school stadium.

The Hillclimber Stadium Committee recently presented the school board with a concept plan for a future stadium renovation project.

The committee, made up of school administrators, board members, teachers, coaches, former district athletic directors, city officials, booster members, alumni, and local stakeholders, has been working on this stadium project since 2019, and have been working with MSA Sport out of Cincinnati on developing the overall concept plan for the project.

“With all of the positive momentum in the Urbana community including the new school buildings, increasing local economic activity, and the potential for community growth, the committee feels like it is the perfect time to move forward with this project,” Superintendent Charles Thiel said.

The project is to upgrade the Urbana High School Stadium to a top-notch facility for students and the community.

The concept is broken down into three phases. Some features that are a part of phase one would include an artificial field turf with relocated field goal posts and nets, a retaining wall to expand the safety area around the field, new handicap accessible home bleachers with a press box, and new energy-efficient field lighting. The second and third phase would include updated site fencing, new locker rooms with a field house for indoor training, and additional restroom facilities.

The project could be completed as appropriate funding is secured, but there has been no decision yet about funding the project.

“The committee just wanted to present to the board the work to this point for feedback from them and the local community. Eventually, a final phased plan will be presented for potential approval. At this point, decisions about funding the plan will be made,” Thiel said.

Thiel said the project would ideally be fully funded through donations and marketing agreements from individuals, organizations and businesses in the community, but will most likely be a combination of those along with district funds. He said permanent improvement funds could be used for parts of the project, or depending on the full scope of the project, there could be an additional tax levy issue passed to raise the necessary funds.

“Although annually inspected, the home bleachers and press box will eventually need to be replaced and could fall to being funded by the district. In addition, the field lighting could be district funded as the light poles are also aging and the replacement lights would have a savings in utility costs,” he said.

Thiel added that part of the feedback the district and committee is looking for is also about how the community feels about funding the project.

“The renovation of the stadium would benefit the majority of the high school student athletes, physical education classes, and local youth sports programs,” Thiel said. “In addition, the project could benefit the entire community through hosting a variety of events.”

Thiel said there has also been discussions about improving the Boyce St. Athletic Complex where the track, soccer, softball and baseball team practice and play most games.

The committee will continue to meet and work out the details of the project. As it moves forward, more information will be available through the district’s website and social media accounts.

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