After extensive planning and multiple fundraisers, at long lost groundbreaking has commenced on the long-planned multi-purpose Lakeview High School youth soccer field project near the Lake County School District #7 offices in Lakeview.
The final hurdles were passed at the LCSD#7 board meeting on Monday, July 28, where after discussion, approval of the project and its construction were passed unanimously. Some concerns were raised by board members that commencing the project could be a distraction for district maintenance staff. Board member and project supervisor Darryl Anderson of Anderson Engineering and Surveying assured that while maintenance staff should be aware of the location of sprinkler systems and other key components, they won’t be directly involved in the field construction.
Plans for the construction of the soccer field were approved by the town planning commission in early July, with stipulations added to the original designs such as an expansion of a walkway from the parking lot to being ADA handicap-accessible compliant, work on sidewalks and trees to be planted. Anderson noted that items like these are among the incidentals that make projecting final costs very difficult.
Though not all of the estimated $55,000-60,000 required to complete the project has been raised, fundraising efforts have compiled roughly $53,000 through donations and Rotary fundraisers, enough to get started. The most expensive aspect of the project according to Anderson is the sod, which is the final component.
While not expected to be completed before the start of the school year, Anderson hopes that the field will be fully operational no later than by the 2015 soccer season. Upon completion it will be maintained by the school district, available for uses beyond soccer such as football practice and community events.
Initial work began on Wednesday, July 28, with the grounds surveyed, staked, and heavy equipment removing topsoil to grade the area.
“Once debris is removed we’ll be cutting the field to grade,” said Anderson. “Once the sprinklers are installed we’ll do final grading, after which time it will be ready for sod. We should have it rough-graded in a week, and have sprinklers installed by the end of August.”
Anderson and LCSD#7 Supt. Sean Gallagher, both members of Lakeview Rotary, have been instrumental in the project’s development, and while funding goals are not yet reached they continue to pursue possible grants, sponsorships and other service organizations’ involvement in completing the field. Project managers received donations from Collins-McDonald ($20,000), Soroptimist International ($2,500) and Lake County Community Foundation ($500) to pool with the funds raised by Rotary Club through its Baxter Black and Goose Chase events.
“It’s exciting to see work finally happening,” said Gallagher. “It is because of the graciousness of our community in supporting Lakeview Rotary and multiple donations that work can finally begin. If it wasn’t for people’s support we wouldn’t be seeing this happen.”
Youth interest in Lake County in the sport of soccer continues to grow, with Lakeview High School adding boys and girls soccer to the fall roster of competitive sports and AYSO programs reaching record numbers of participants. Currently the LHS baseball field is utilized for high school soccer practice and games.
“There’s a lot of use on the existing grass we have, it’s being overused, so there’s a definite need for the field,” said Gallagher. “It can be used for lots of different purposes, I expect other athletic programs will use it and the community as well. It will be a great place for the community to have a barbeque, and maybe adult soccer leagues.”
Many of the LHS facilities are also used by community groups, such as adult softball leagues and invitational track & field meets.