WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–March 29, West Liberty Community School District gave the community a first look at their plans for their new athletic complex. A three phase program that will provide both new outdoor and indoor facilities, Activities Director Adam Loria believes the upgrades will benefit all students.
Because West Liberty’s current natural grass football field and the track around it need considerable repairs, the athletic complex project will start with replacing it. Their new turf football field will also include a regulation size soccer field as well as a new multilane track around it. Along with offering a better playing and practice surface for athletes, the new turf football field will resist the weather better, allowing the marching band to use it even after it rains.
At the same time as the new football field goes in, new natural grass baseball and softball fields will go in as well. All of the fields will go on a tract of land owned by the district directly south of the high school, making them more accessible than the current ball fields, located behind the elementary school, and the current football field, located across the street from the high school. This easy to reach location will allow physical education classes to use the fields and track on a regular basis during the school day.
Once work on the outdoor fields wraps up, the district will move on to the second phase of the project, which will involve constructing a new athletic facility just off the south side of the high school. In the third and final stage of the project, the district will furnish the inside of the building with a larger weight room, a turf practice room, and a coaching room. A truly multipurpose space, the building will ensure that multiple teams, including youth teams, have space to practice, especially during inclement weather. It will also make the weight room a more viable option for physical education classes, as the current weight room does not always have enough space for larger classes to use it comfortably.
Though West Liberty Community School District continues to work on the plans for the project, Loria shared they intend to break ground on the new fields this summer or fall and hope to finish work before the first football game of the 2023-2024 school year. Work on the indoor facilities will begin after the district completes the outdoor fields.
A large undertaking, Loria estimated work on the fields will cost up to $6 million. The district has not received estimates on the indoor facilities as construction prices can change dramatically in only a short time. A physical plant and equipment levy will cover the cost of the fields, and the district has already begun a capital campaign to finance the new athletic building through donations.
As West Liberty undertakes their athletic complex renovation, Loria looks forward to taking part in what he considers a once in 50 years project. “It’s exciting,” he said: “The support we’ve heard from the community is tremendous. This is something we’ve needed for a long time, and now we’re in a position to do something about it.”