MHS Sports Complex Q & A

MHS Sports Complex Q & A
Posted on 10/20/2015

Months before my family moved to Menomonie, and while I was still working in the Cadott Community School District, I received a visit from the chair of the committee raising money for the MHS Sports Complex.  Jim Schmidt wanted me to know about the work of the committee, and the need that our school district and community has for the desired outdoor facilities.  Needless to say, I was quite amazed at the support that community members have for the School District of the Menomonie Area, and I continue to be impressed with stakeholders’ ambitions for providing expanded opportunities for children in this community.

Having been involved with similar projects during my time in Prairie du Chien, Cassville, and Cadott, I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Mr. Schmidt and provide some input.  Now, about a year-and-a-half later, the vision that was once just an idea by a group of enthusiastic individuals, is close to becoming a reality for our school and community.  

There are still many questions about the MHS Sports Complex, however, so here is some basic information that will hopefully help school and community stakeholders understand the scope and structure of this project.  More detailed information and answers to additional questions can be obtained by contacting the MHS Sports Complex Committee Chair Jim Schmidt, MHS AD Bart Boettcher, or me.

Q: What is included in the proposed MHS Sports Complex?

A:  The plans have been separated into four main phases primarily focused on providing a running track, relocated softball field, and a soccer/lower-level football playing field (Phase 1), that will eventually have lights (Phase 2), permanent restrooms/concessions (Phase 3), and a press box/stadium seating for hosting larger track meets, etc. (Phase 4).  Currently, the committee and school board are discussing the possible approval of Phase 1.  

Q: Will varsity football games still be played at UW-Stout?

A:  Yes.  There are no immediate plans to replicate Williams Stadium on the MHS campus.  While there are some alternate designs for the Sports Complex (such as artificial turf) that could be considered sometime in the future based on available funding, special grants, and district needs, there is still no intention to replicate Williams Stadium or move varsity football games away from the campus at UW-Stout.

Q: Who will own and operate the MHS Sports Complex?

A:  The School District of the Menomonie Area.  The Sports Complex Committee is the group raising money for the project, while donations are being managed by the Community Foundation of Dunn County in a fund controlled by the school district.  Committee members have provided some valuable input on the conceptual design for the project, but ultimately the school district will be responsible for the approval, construction, supervision, and operations of the facility.  Currently the school board has granted permission for the committee to raise funds for outdoor athletic facilities to be located on school district property, but no approval has been given yet for any of the construction phases.  Any contribution by the school district toward the project would be made directly, instead of through a “donation” to the community foundation.

Q: Are future maintenance costs of the MHS Sports Complex being considered?

A: Yes. Under the direction of the school board, students and teachers in the MHS business department have worked with administrators and the school board’s buildings and grounds committee to develop a business plan for the sports complex.  Added expenses for annual and long-term maintenance and capital needs associated with the project have been considered and planned for.

Q: Where would the school district’s contribution toward the project come from?

A: A one-time contribution would come from the general fund (Fund 10) fund balance.  The 2014-2015 school budget ended favorably by approximately $2.2 million due to higher than projected revenue and lower than anticipated expenses.  Of the $2.2 million, we are projecting that $1.2 million needs to stay in fund balance, so the district can- for the second year in a row- save money by avoiding cash flow borrowing, and an additional $200,000 is needed to meet our annual goal for setting aside funds for long-term capital improvement expenses.  That leaves $800,000 for the school board to manage.

Q: Who is supporting this project?

A: While support for a project like this is never unanimous, a tremendous amount of support has come from students, parents, community members, alumni, and the local business community.  Nearly 300 businesses and individuals have already made financial contributions toward the project, and many others have pledged additional support.  A large majority of the teachers and support staff at Menomonie High School and Menomonie Middle School have also gone on record supporting this project and asking the school board to help fund Phase 1.

Should school stakeholders have any questions about the MHS Sports Complex, or anything else in our school district, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact us at 715-232-1642.  More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (