(Gnadenhutten, Ohio) – The Indian Valley Local School district is considering a 19-acre piece of land near the high school for the site of a new football stadium.
Earlier this month the Indian Valley Local School Board of Education took the plan a step further when they approved a resolution authorizing the purchase agreement to buy the land. In the same meeting, officials began the process of a bond issue to help pay for the new stadium. The land is located behind the softball field behind the school and would be purchased, contingent on the bond issue passing, from Tusco Limited Partnership for $15,000.
Officials note they hope to see the new bond issue go into effect when the current issue that was passed back in 1995 for building projects, expires in 2019. The current football field, Kelley Field, is near Midvale Elementary in Midvale with a ‘makeshift’ practice facility at the high school in Gnadenhutten.
According to district Superintendent, Ira Wentworth, there are several factors that play into the board’s decision to pursue a new facility. In 2007 the district received state and local support to open new and/or renovated school buildings and updates took place at the district’s bus garage in 2017, “The board feels that the stadium is the last piece of the puzzle needing attention as far as facilities go for our district,” explained Wentworth.
Additionally, he noted parking at the current facility is limited. “During home football games in the fall, cars are often parked on the on-ramps and off-ramps to S.R. 250,” he explained. He also explained the current track lanes are 6-lanes, when standard 8-lanes are required to host a conference or OHSAA tournament meet, “There is not enough physical space at the current facility to be able to expand to 8-lanes,” he said.
Also, Wentworth described the current practice facilities for high school and middle school football and band as “under-serving” students. “The addition of a new facility will improve practice environments for a multitude of extracurricular activities,” he added.
Another area of concern for district leaders is that there are no locker rooms or changing facilities at the current practice field at the high school in Gnadenhutten. This forces many students to change for practice in their cars. Wentworth explained the new facility would allow the high school athletes to go straight to practice after school rather than having to leave early and drive to another location.
Wentworth added that the last significant upgrade at the stadium was in the early 2000’s when an all-weather track surface was installed. He noted general maintenance has occurred since that time, including the installation of aluminum footboards in the bleachers to improve safety conditions in the early to mid-2010’s. In 2017 a new scoreboard and play clocks were installed with assistance from the Athletic Boosters. “If the forthcoming Bond Issue is successful, plans have been discussed to move the new scoreboard and play clocks for use in the new facility,” said Wentworth.
He added that his hope is the new facility will bring more fans and participants to Indian Valley athletic events. “Schools who have [gone] through similar projects often notice an increase in the number of students who participate in extracurricular activities as it creates a source of pride among the student body,” he said. “An education is more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. There is more to education than preparing for a State test; we strive to educate the whole child. Extracurricular activities are natural environments for students to learn commitment, persistence, and interpersonal skills.”