MILWAUKEE -- After years of dealing with an uneven playing field, literally and figuratively, Vincent High School sports teams can now look forward to a stadium of their own. The school celebrated as officials broke ground on a new state-of-the-art sports facility on Thursday, May 10.
"Imagine going to a high school that doesn't have a track and field, that doesn't have a football field, a soccer field," said Darienne Driver, Milwaukee Public Schools' superintendent.
"These are the opportunities that are going to level the playing field for our student-athletes," said Lynn Greb, Milwaukee Public Schools' recreation director.
In 2016, the clock ran out on Vincent's football and soccer field.
"The stadium had a lot of wear and tear," said Daryl Burns, Vincent High School principal.
Those poor conditions made the field unsafe for students.
"Was very difficult to play on," said Cliffron Cunningham, who is a junior at Vincent High School. "You have to tape your ankles good enough, 'cause you can roll your ankle easily."
Soon, students will finally get to practice on their own turf.
"Since we had a raggedy old track and field, we had to go to other schools and use their track when they weren't using it," said Kyra Chaires, Vincent High School junior.
Here's the game plan: The $5.7 million stadium will feature synthetic turf for football and soccer, plus an eight-lane track. With bleachers for 1,200 spectators, once built, the school can host WIAA events.
"The students are very excited now that we have a home stadium and you can come to the V-House," said Principal Burns.
Outdoor lighting, a press box, concessions and a new scoreboard are also in the playbook, and it won't be limited to the Vikings.
"This is a very residential neighborhood -- a lot of families here, so just imagine strollers, wheelchairs and walkers and everything in between. And it's something they can call their own," said Driver.
Full features at the new stadium include:
- Eight-lane track suitable for WIAA track events
- Regulation field with synthetic turf for football and soccer
- Outdoor lighting
- Shot put/discus throw stations
- New ADA accessible bleachers for 1,200 spectators
- Home and away team rooms
- Press box
- Locker room for game officials
- Concession stand
- New scoreboard
- An entry plaza with MPS high school flags guiding spectators to a new ticket window.
The new stadium is expected to be ready for play in spring 2019. The total project cost estimate for the stadium, including all design, construction and inspection, is $5,656,791. It's being funded through money from the MPS Construction Fund, borrowed funds and bonds.