Students, parents, community members and visitors will be treated to numerous updates to the campus as school resumes on August 29th. Three major areas of the campus were updated with the help of an extremely supportive community.
Three years ago the Garfield Board of Education partnered with the JAG All Sports Boosters to create Garfield’s Stadium Committee. They quickly met and discussed with stakeholders how to address some growing safety concerns at our stadium. Initially, two options were discussed. The first was to pursue a levy and raise taxes to make these improvements, and the second was to create a phased approach and handle the updates through fundraising efforts. The on-going support of the volunteers, businesses and community members made the decision an easy one. The committee felt a clear vision with a phased approach would be simple to support and the work began.
Phase 1 of the project corrected problems with the visitor bleachers and player safety. It was completed in the spring of 2014 at a cost of nearly $30,000, all of which was generated through fundraising efforts.
Phase 2 of the project was the largest and most aggressive. Consisting of new handicap accessible bleachers and an updated press box, this phase would test the very best of what our community is about. With the help of many fundraisers and 50/50 proceeds from the Queen of Hearts drawing last year, the Stadium Committee was able to raise over $110,000 to put towards the aging bleachers (nearly 60% of the total cost).
This fall our fans will enjoy new bleachers that will accommodate more fans, provide a safer experience and be more accessible to all of our visitors. The new aluminum bleachers include more safety rails, a wheelchair ramp, a 100% enclosed deck and are elevated twelve inches higher to provide better viewing for our spectators.
The press box is also updated and includes two points of entry, a video-recording platform, updated electrical service and windows to keep insects and other critters from making their winter homes inside the structure.
The Stadium Committee recently changed their name to the Athletic Facilities Committee and will expand their efforts to improving baseball, softball, track and wrestling facilities. Their next phase will be focused on new concession stands and permanent restrooms.
Seventeen years ago our gymnasium opened and was one of the best courts in the area for students to perform on. While custodians, coaches and maintenance staff did a stellar job of maintaining the gymnasium, it was growing tired and faded. The aging floor was becoming slippery and causing play to become less safe.
This summer, with the help of the JAG All Sports Boosters and the Charles Auto Family the district was able to strip the floor and transform it to one of the most unique courts in the state of Ohio.
Tile in the Commons area and entry corridor was also nearing 20 years of age. With over 600 students walking through this high-traffic area it was one of the most worn areas of the campus. Many tiles were cracked and entire tiles were coming loose in many areas. With school lunch, volleyball, basketball and wrestling traffic all flowing through this area, it is also one of the most utilized areas on the campus.
With assistance from a grant through the Portage Foundation and a very generous donation from Creative Concrete Impressions & Floor Coatings (owned by Garfield Graduate Mike Patterson) the district was able to install all-weather carpet in the hall and place a decorative and extremely durable epoxy finish in the Commons. These updates certainly provide a safer, more durable and welcoming appearance to our most visited area.
The Garfield Schools have always been a reflection of the support, generosity and high expectations of the community. The upgrades made this summer reflect the continued efforts of a great community, a district that is a strong steward of their tax dollars and many volunteers who work tirelessly to create the best facility possible. Garfield continues to be an example of what great things can be accomplished when a school, parents and a community work together for our kids.