The school district broke ground on a blustery Thursday morning on an upgrade to the high school’s Rice Field, which will include a 1,500-seat stadium and a plaza area with a veterans memorial.
The crew of dignitaries, including School Superintendent Mark Wenzel and Mayor Laurie Gere, didn’t actually break ground, but posted for a number of photographs by the school’s photographer. School Board President Bobbilyn Hogge later said she had a few high school students use the shovels to actually turn over some soil.
Rice Field is named after the late Jim Rice, who was Mayor for over 17 years. His grandson, Craig Rice, told the small crowd that Jim Rice liked helping people out and that he would be “very joyous,” to see the field improved.
Mayor Gere said Mayor Rice was a doer and a no-nonsense kind of person who always make sure what needed doing actually got done.
At one point Dr. Wenzel picked up his 2-year old boy, Finn, as as he spoke to the crowd in front of a backhoe.
Actual work on the field improvements will begin later this month with completion set for September.
Once Rice Field is complete, construction can begin on a new classroom building on the site of the current War Memorial Field. Construction is expected to take about two years, with the new classrooms ready by September of 2018.