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Published: Thursday, 9/16/2004

Toledo: Bowsher Stadium spruce up to cost $800,000

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Fans watching sporting events in the Bowsher High School stadium will have more to cheer about than the action on the field when officials finish renovations to the stadium area.

Toledo Public Schools is in the early stages of making about $800,000 of improvements at the high school stadium, 3548 South Detroit Ave. The district is planning to replace the stadium seats, construct a building with locker rooms and a concession stand, widen the concrete walkway around the stadium, and add landscaping to the area.

The Toledo Plan Commission last week approved a special-use permit for a 5,880-square-foot building that will house locker rooms and a concession stand. The permit will go to Toledo City Council next month for approval.

The stadium now has a small concession stand in a "very old, concrete block, rickety building," Bowsher Principal Valerie Napieralski said.

"It's very small, and it does not accommodate the kind of crowds we get," she said.

About $714,000 of the stadium renovations are funded as part of the district-wide $821 million construction project that will take place over the next decade. Two years ago, voters passed a 28-year, 4.99-mill levy to pay for roughly a quarter of the project, while state money through the Ohio School Facilities Commission funds the rest.

Part of the renovation project includes building a new high school at the corner of Arlington Avenue and South Detroit, about a mile from the existing building.

The new high school will include athletic fields, but football games will still take place in the current stadium. The stadium houses not only Bowsher home games but hosts athletic events for area Catholic schools and youth sports leagues.

The Bowsher Boosters are aiming to raise about $84,000 to cover the remaining costs of the stadium improvements.

"We're tickled to death about these renovations," Norm Drogmiller, president of the boosters, said. "It helps the kids, the school, and the community."

The first phase of the upgrades began this week, when crews started installing aluminum bleachers to replace the sagging wooden benches in the stadium. All stadium renovations are expected to be done by fall 2005.

"We want everything done by the first game of next year so we can have a grand opening," Mr. Drogmiller said.

The Boosters are planning to raffle a Ford Focus in March. Raffle tickets cost $20 each.

The first phase of the stadium upgrades began this week, when crews started installing aluminum bleachers to replace the sagging wooden benches in the stadium. The bleacher replacements will be completed in about six weeks.

All the stadium renovations, including the new locker rooms and concession stand, are scheduled to be finished by fall 2005.

"We want everything done by the first game of next year so we can have a grand opening," Mr. Drogmiller said.



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