Sports complex activity ramps up

Fundraisers get underway; date for breaking ground announced


(Graphic courtesy Sundance High School) The general project area of the new school sports facility will range from roughly the existing elementary school building easterly across the golf course boundary.
(Graphic courtesy Sundance High School) The general project area of the new school sports facility will range from roughly the existing elementary school building easterly across the golf course boundary.

By Sarah Pridgeon

With the official dates now set to break ground on the Sundance High School football field, community members have begun a fundraising drive to enhance the new athletic complex with lights and equipment for regional track meets. Fundraising so far includes a 25-gun raffle event and a donation match from Croell Redi-Mix up to $50,000.

Construction will officially begin at the end of the school year, says Superintendent Mark Broderson.

“They hope to have the final design out by the end of this month,” he explains, noting that the architects have had several meetings with the coaches to discuss their needs.

“Their plan is to start moving dirt once the elementary school closes its doors for the school year. The elementary children are going to do summer school at the high school, they’ve moved them there so there won’t be any kid traffic up around the elementary, and they should be moving dirt before May is over.”

The field should be seeded in the August/September timeframe, he continues.

“We won’t be able to play on it, but they are planning on starting track meets on there a year from this spring.”

“We’ll miss one more football season in Sundance and then, the following year, we’ll have a nice grass field.”


Additional costs

Anything that the school district does to improve the field above and beyond what the state will finance, however, must come out of the district’s pocket in the form of ‘enhancements’.

“For a school our size, the state will pay for a six-lane, all-weather track, but we cannot host a regional track meet on a six lane track and there isn’t an eight-lane track in the county at this point, so the school board is considering putting in the two extra lanes to make an eight-lane track in the county,” Broderson says.

“That’s a school board decision, it hasn’t been determined yet – they’re waiting to see what the bids come in at.”

Construction bids aren’t coming in as high as they were a couple of years ago, he says, which will hopefully give the board a choice of contractors.

“The way things are in the State of Wyoming right now, bids that have been put out for other jobs have come in kind of low because there are people looking for work. Right now, financially, is a good time for us to be putting in a track,” he nods.

Such things as concession stands and changing rooms could be incorporated into the current Sundance Elementary School once the kids have moved to their new building. These items, should the district choose to remodel the building, will be funded through major maintenance with help from the School Facilities if the district opts to re-house Central Office.


Community fundraisers

The community fundraisers are aimed at very specific enhancements that are also not funded through the state, Broderson says.

“It’s mainly for lights and also for equipment to run a track meet: hurdles, high jump pits, pole vault stands, all those things,” he lists.

“We have nothing as we haven’t had a meet here. We’ve had pretty good success so far and we are hoping that, if we have $200,000 raised, that will pay for all the equipment that it takes to run a track meet and that we can put lights up so we can have Friday night football games.”

A large chunk of this has already been raised through community members and businesses including Croell Redi-Mix and Sundance State Bank, says the superintendent, and several events are planned to keep the total rising.

At present, community members can purchase tickets for a 25-gun raffle. Tickets cost $50 each and include entrance to the drawing, which will take place at the fairgrounds on June 11 along with a meal and event.

Meanwhile, Croell Redi-Mix has graciously offered to match any donations made up to $50,000. Donations can be dropped off at Sundance High School or by contacting Jim O’Connor or Lance Hofland.