While the name, Tiger Strong Fieldhouse is new, the concept is not. For many years, administration, BOE, coaches, and the community have acknowledged an ongoing need to expand current athletic training facilities. The countless hours spent mending and restoring the faith of our community is the foundation and motivation behind this project. The vision of the Fieldhouse is simple, to inspire future students to develop the characteristics and attributes that our community displayed, which not only healed our small town but inspired the 100% privately-funded Tiger Strong Fieldhouse. Since then, the West Liberty-Salem Athletic Association has worked with Link Construction on preliminary building plans, a projected cost for construction, formed a planning committee, and have been working hard to find donors to support their vision.
The original concept of the Fieldhouse project was a 12,000 square foot athletic training complex with a gym, weight room, and floating track. However, as plans for the development of the Fieldhouse continue to evolve, so does the impact that such a facility will have on the entire student body. Clubs and other extra-curricular activities, including but not limited to the music department, Science Olympiads, and general class usage for large scale projects, have also played a vital role in the development of a multipurpose approach to the Fieldhouse plans. A fieldhouse will create an avenue for every sport to practice in season, offseason, and year-round while providing additional, much-needed space for other school-related activities. If you’ve ever walked the halls of WL-S after school, you will find the track, cross country, baseball, softball, and cheerleading teams utilizing the hallways, cafeterias, and classrooms for practice space. Not only is this unsafe, but it doesn’t allow our students to train or evolve as competitive athletes properly. The Fieldhouse will offer an extra gymnasium space with multipurpose floor allowing baseball, softball, track, soccer, and football, to name a few, an indoor space in unfavorable weather conditions. An elevated running track will offer a safe space for training, and the addition of a weight room will give wrestlers full access back to the mezzanine in our current gym. Basketball and volleyball teams currently practicing late into the evening will gain earlier gym time and will be more cost-effective by eliminating the current use of Adriel for additional gym space. The Fieldhouse will also address the need for outside restroom facilities/locker rooms to reduce traffic in our buildings during outdoor sporting events, thus eliminating current porta-john rental.
With any donation-based project, support from the community is vital. The West Liberty-Salem Athletic Association is supporting the initiative by raising funds and donating 100% of the proceeds directly to the Fieldhouse foundation. In the last three years, the WLSAA has raised $100,000 in funds through the Reverse Raffle Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction and the Labor Day Festival. In addition to helping the Fieldhouse financial goal, they provide vital support to our current athletic programs through online athletic apparel sales, team meals, sponsoring youth athletics, concession stand staffing and financial aid for senior banners. They have paid off the stadium seating project, provided stadium lighting, new basketball backboards, provide four scholarships a year, and recently purchased a new basketball shooting machine. Their financial stewardship and support are essential in the project. Currently, the WLSAA has $317,000 in donated funds in their account, a $110,000 guaranteed donation to the Fieldhouse project, and have supported in raising $525,000 in pledges toward the current $1mil goal. While WLSAA support is vital in the funding of this project, community support will also play a significant role. At the heart of the Fieldhouse, an honor room will recognize the many donors who made this building possible, commemorate the events January 20th, and acknowledge the heroes from that day. The WLSAA asks that the community consider a pledge to the construction project, and any additional fundraising ideas are welcome. The WLSAA has also hired Windfall Funding, a professional fundraising company to assist with this project. They have their 33x3 tool to maximize donations while also helping address donor fatigue.
Please plan to join us for upcoming informational meetings and watch the West Liberty-Salem Website (District News-Fieldhouse), West Liberty-Salem Facebook page, or follow Facebook/thetigerstrongfieldhouse for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will tax dollars be used to build the field house?
The Board has provided their support to the Athletic Association to raise funds and to build an athletic fieldhouse. This support of the project is based on 100% of the funds being privately donated for the construction of the Fieldhouse.
2. Has a location been chosen for the field house?
No, the Board and the Athletic Association have not determined a location for the field house. The location will be impacted based on other decisions the Board makes regarding future athletic field development. The Board completed a Master Site Planning process in November that has provided the Board with recommendations on the best placements for future buildings and fields. A key consideration in this planning was safety, traffic, and accessibility. As a result of the study, it has been recommended that the Board relocate the current baseball field to allow improved access and safety to the school site. If the baseball field is moved, then the Fieldhouse will likely be placed within part of the area that the baseball field occupies now.
3. Why do members of our community and the Athletic Association want to build a field house?
There are many reasons why a field house would improve our school facilities:
* The field house would provide access to restrooms and locker rooms for all outdoor athletic events. This would allow the school building to remain locked and secure during athletic events. It would also eliminate or reduce the use of porta-johns, improving sanitary conditions, and it would reduce wear and tear on our school building.
* We would benefit from the additional locker rooms for HS and MS sports.
* It would increase indoor gym time and availability for sports and other school activities.
* It would allow improved use of school facilities by community-based sports teams and programs
* It would provide off-season practice areas instead of using the hallways in the school.
* The facility may be utilized as a community center for exercise and recreation.
4. There has been a conversation about moving the current baseball diamond for construction of the Fieldhouse. How are fieldhouse funds being allocated, if at all, for this project?
The current baseball diamond is being moved regardless of the Fieldhouse project for several reasons, but primarily, it’s current placement is a safety concern for any other sporting event co-occurring. Our current site facility master plan to improve traffic flow, the safety of the existing property, etc. determined that moving the diamond will not only allow for the construction of restroom areas, and concession, but will also eliminate injury due to foul balls to the stadium and track.