Major upgrade sought for South High's fields

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Major upgrade sought for South High's fields

Postby jjjjhskr » Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:56 am

This is long overdue and will be a great improvement for South O.

From the World Herald -

The scruffy bowl that south Omahans familiarly - and not entirely lovingly - call "the hole" would become a home stadium for South High School football, soccer and track under an ambitious plan being pitched by alumni and friends.

A plan to update Omaha South High's athletic fields includes adding lights to Collin Field, above, and increasing the stadium's capacity to 3,000 to 4,000 fans. Artificial turf and a refurbished track would be included.

They envision lights, artificial turf, seating for 3,000 to 4,000 fans in the bowl's slopes, a refurbished track and beautified grounds for Collin Field at 22nd and L Streets, where South athletes currently practice, come mud or shine.

While they are at it, backers of the plan want to expand a practice softball field at the nearby H.P. Smith Sport Training Facility so it could be home turf for South's softball team.

They also would create a new, regulation softball and Little League baseball field at the South Omaha Boys and Girls Club, and join the club's sports fields with those of H.P. Smith by closing part of O Street between 20th and 22nd Streets.

Athletic booster Dave Van Metre, South alumnus and architect Tim Holland and South High School Alumni Association leaders have been working on the plan quietly. They have pitched it to a few foundations and some Omaha Public Schools administrators, spoken with city officials about closing part of O Street and approached the Omaha Public Power District about burying power lines.

So far, they have found general support for the multimillion-dollar proposal, although no financial commitments have been made yet, Van Metre said.

"I feel very confident that we're going to get this done," he said.

The plan would create home fields for five sports within six blocks of South High School. Most of those athletes currently travel miles for home games.

OPS officials praised the idea, saying it would be great not only for South High, but also for students of Marrs Middle School and other area schools.

"It would be a nice setup," said Bob Danenhauer, assistant athletic director for OPS. "It would be very significant to have first-class facilities in the south Omaha community for the kids and the fans."

Jerry Bartee, OPS assistant superintendent for building services, said that the plan is "in the discussion stages" and that no school district money has been committed to it. He said changes to Collin Field, as OPS property, would have to be approved by the school board.

Asked whether the district would be willing to pay for something like the plan proposes, Bartee said, "We don't have that kind of dollars."

Proponents don't have a specific cost estimate yet. But they don't expect their project to approach the $12.1 million price tag for Central High School's new, 5,300-seat football stadium, which opened in August. The Central project included about $3 million for land acquisition. Private donors paid for most of it.

Holland said no land would need to be acquired for the proposed "South Omaha Youth Sports Complex."

He said Hawkins Construction is working on a cost estimate, one of several services that are being donated to the project by people with South High ties. Holland, a principal in Holland Basham Architects and past president of the Boys and Girls Club board, has donated his services. Ehrhart Griffin and Associates is pitching in with design work.

Van Metre has no direct South ties. He's a retired business executive who with his wife, Carol, bought weight-training and exercise equipment for 18 OPS schools. He has begun seeking donors, large and small.

He said he wouldn't be able to be a major donor personally: "Our well isn't that deep."

South High Alumni Association leaders said they hope their members will support the effort.

"South High has got no facilities, and it shows in the number of people who come out to play," said Steve Cavlovic, who graduated 55 years ago, when South was a sports power under Coach Cornie Collin, for whom Collin Field is named.

Cavlovic said better facilities would attract more students in South's attendance area to attend South and play sports there and would foster youth feeder programs, something the area lacks in comparison to other parts of metropolitan Omaha.

"South High has been playing on a poorly balanced field," he said.

But it's not only South High School that the proponents of the plan have in mind.

"It would be a sports complex for the community, not just South High," Van Metre said.

He and other proponents of the plan noted the growing number of children in the area. Many are children of immigrants from Latin America, where soccer is king. Yet there is a paucity of soccer fields in south Omaha.

"They have the same wants and needs and hopes and dreams as we did when we were in school," said John Krayneski, South High Alumni Association president.

Holland said athletic offerings and facilities in the area need to be expanded and improved so that more children have "all the benefits of sports." Among those, he cited learning teamwork and leadership, plus having an extra incentive to do well in school.

The plan calls for about 250 parking spaces at the fields, but proponents said parking would spill onto neighborhood streets for large events.

Other elements of the plan include:

• Historic lighting, decorative fencing, team and community meeting rooms at Collin Field.

• A South High alumni and war memorial near Collin Field's northeast corner.

• A new practice football field, lights and bleachers at H.P. Smith.

• Upgraded lighting, new bleachers and decorative fencing at the Boys and Girls Club.

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Re: Major upgrade sought for South High's fields

Postby Coyote » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:42 pm

Now Cavlovic Field will get a $625k Artificial Turf and Drainage System renovation.

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