Come next spring, Pulaski High School boys baseball and girls softball teams will play at a new complex. A ground-breaking ceremony Thursday helped kick off the construction of the Pulaski Community School District’s baseball/softball complex, east of Saputo Stadium.
Pulaski Community School District Board of Education president Michael Voelker told the crowd of about 60 PHS students, staff, project donors and contractors, media and community members that when ground was broken for Phase I in April 2016, the board supported the project because members had faith in its success and because they knew it would benefit the entire community. Both have been proven true, he said.
“This facility has had a transformational effect on not just the school but the community. It has literally changed the landscape of the community,” he said. “It is recognized and praised by those outside the district,” he said, noting Saputo Stadium is used by school and community events alike.
“Our faith in the success of the project was borne out, as the project was completed on time, on budget, and with full funding from private donations, and with many in-kind donations from local contractors involved in the project,” he added. It is with that success and faith that the board supports Phase II of this project, Voelker said.
PCSD superintendent Bec Kurzynske introduced members of the Red Raider Field of Dreams Steering Committee, donors, contractors, local government officials, board of education members, PCSD leadership team members, coaches, athletes and supporters of district schools and community. She also thanked Prevea, Bay Tek, MCL and the Van Lannen family, all of whom have been major contributors to both phases of the Field of Dreams project.
“Some contractors get work and that’s a job for them. With this project, our donors and our contractors really are part of the community and part of those efforts.” Contractors for this project have provided “extra special attention” on nights and weekends to make sure everything is just right, Kurzynske noted.
She also praised Janel Batten, PHS athletic director, for her hard work on the Red Raider Field of Dreams project. “Her energy, passion and commitment are contagious and along with the steering committee are the reason we are standing here today.”
“We are humbled by the opportunity to bring such a wonderful facility to our student athletes and community,” Kurzynske added.
Becca May, a PHS junior and granddaughter of Bob and the late Betty Van Lannen, said her grandparents were born in the community, lived here all their lives and have always been large supporters of local youths and athletic programs. “Sports have truly always been a big part of the Van Lannen family,” she said.
“I speak on behalf of my entire family when I say that we are truly blessed to live in a community like Pulaski and it makes giving back that much easier.” May added she is excited to be able to play next year on a softball field named for her grandmother and to see her younger cousins to play baseball on a field named for their grandfather. She also thanked all the donors who made the project possible.
Batten said she is most proud of the impact the Field of Dreams Project has had on the local community and how it continues to motivate PHS student athletes. “I am humbled by the generosity of our businesses and other donors that realize the importance that these facilities have for our community and our youths,” she said.
Batten said one reason the project is so exciting is because students have been involved in promoting it. Ben Otto’s PHS marketing class produced testimonial videos for the project. Those students did the first ceremonial breaking of ground with shovels, followed by board of education members and district leadership staff, contractors and then donors.
The first portion of Phase II includes:
● two baseball fields at PHS
● two softball fields at PHS
● Press box/storage area
● Concession stands/bathrooms
The second portion of Phase II will include:
● three additional tennis courts at PHS
● Additional practice fields
● Upgrades to the PCMS soccer complex
The baseball/softball portion of Phase II is expected to cost $2.3 million with about $1.5 million yet to be
raised. The remaining Phase II work will occur after the baseball/softball portion of Phase II is completed. The $3.2-million Phase I of the project was completed in September 2016 and was fully paid by pledges and in-kind contributions of materials and labor.
Phase I included:
• Football and soccer field with synthetic surface at PHS
• New track and areas for field events, the band and a community plaza at Saputo Stadium
• A press box, concession stand, restrooms and stadium seating at Saputo Stadium
• Bathrooms added to PCMS soccer stadium
To learn how you can support Phase II of the Red Raider Field of Dreams project, go to