Shown is a bird’s-eye view of the approved site design to be constructed this spring. Of note, the main entry ticket booth and plaza to be located at the northwest corner of the parking lot is being designed and is not yet shown here. Also, the current plan calls for the baseball field to remain on its current footprint.
Phase One Ground-Breaking Spring, 2019
Monday night, December 17, 2018, the Tomorrow River School District (TRSD) school board voted unanimously to approve construction of Phase One of the Falcon Pride Project at a final bid cost of $3,725,000. Phase One includes: A new eight-lane running track and field events areas; football/soccer artificial turf field with new raised 700-seat home side bleachers and 300-seat raised visitor side bleachers as well as new stadium lights; south parking lot expansion, ticket gate and entry plaza; grass practice/game surface inside the new track; and an added practice field space for soccer/football. Visitors to the completed complex will also notice many additional updates and enhancements.
Local fundraising efforts have netted a total of approximately $1,900,000 to date. The TRSD board approved an additional school contribution of $510,000 bringing the district's total commitment to $1,735,000 for a grand total of $3,635,000 committed between the school and private donors.
“I’m excited for our school district, but also for the entire Tomorrow River community,” said Tomorrow River School District superintendent Mike Toelle. “The new athletic complex will be a great asset as we continue to move the school and community forward. I can’t wait to break ground on this project this spring!”
Falcon Pride has received donations from more than 225 donors, including six pledges of $100,000 or more. These founding Level VI and Level VII donors include: Richard and Barbara Pavelski; Scott and Patti Groholski/POB; Blenker Company Inc. and the Blenker family; Charles T. Anderson; Wolding Family; and the International Bank of Amherst. A donor listing can be found at the Falcon Pride Project web site, www.falcon-pride.com, and all donors will be recognized at a donor wall location at the new facility. A huge thank-you to every single person and business who have donated to the project. To those who haven’t, please consider being a part of this historic undertaking. TRSD continues to welcome every donation!
Richard and Barbara Pavelski launched the private fundraising campaign phase of the Falcon Pride Project out of the starting blocks with their initial $300,000 pledge more than a year ago. In early December 2018, they added another $100,000 donation, ($400,000 total) helping to bridge the gap to the Falcon Pride finish line!
Richard and Barbara's donation is complemented by incredible generosity also from Jeremie and Alicia Pavelski, Heartland Farms, and many of Heartland Farms' suppliers and business partners. These additional inputs amount to another $200,000 in pledges. As a direct result of this total of approximately $600,000 in donations, the TRSD school board has also approved naming of the new Amherst Falcon football/soccer stadium as Heartland Farms Field for at least the next 30 years.
“In the 1920s, the Amherst School District invested in a young Falcon student, Albert Pavelski. Nearly 100 years and two additional generations of Falcon families later, those seeds have grown a great harvest for the Pavelski family,” said Richard Pavelski. “Investing in the Falcon Pride Project is our expression of gratitude for those years of impact in our lives as well as a commitment to raising up young men and women of competency and character far into the future.
“On behalf of Heartland Farms we’d also like to thank our many suppliers and business partners who were generous enough to also support Falcon Pride when we asked them for their help with the project. And on behalf of the Pavelski family, we are proud to be a part of this historic event for the Tomorrow River Community.”
Heartland Farms stadium will feature new 700-seat home bleachers, 300-seat visitor side bleachers, new stadium lighting and turf surface from Greenfields. The playing surface is large enough to also accommodate WIAA soccer playoff games.
At publication of this issue of the Community Spirit, Falcon Pride Project is $90,000 from fully funding every element of Phase One of Falcon Pride budget including contingency. The budget contains approximately $160,000 in contingency in case of any cost overruns. In the event that all goes to plan, unused contingency dollars would go toward any remaining Phase One gap, or would be pushed into Phase Two of the plan. Falcon Pride fundraising efforts continue full speed ahead to ensure that we do not have to remove any pieces from the Phase One build, and to ensure that we reach our Phase Two goal as soon as possible. We will be announcing soon the Phase Two plan to renovate the baseball and softball fields.
Thank you Tomorrow River community. So many people have helped with their time, talent and treasure to achieve this historic outcome for our school and our future generations. Our little town and little school dared to dream big, and we are about to build something truly incredible. Let's go blue!
Anyone who’d like to donate to the Falcon Pride Project as it marches on through Phase One and toward Phase Two of the plan, are invited to please make a check payable to Amherst Athletic Complex and drop it off at the district office or mail to: Tomorrow River School District, Attn: Falcon Pride, 357 N. Main St., Amherst, WI 54406.
What People are Saying About Falcon Pride
Here is a small sampling of the reactions to the Falcon Pride Project Phase One approval:
Mark Lusic, Amherst High School head football coach: “I first heard about the Falcon Pride Project idea about two years ago. It’s been a long journey and a great credit to the community, the school and all of the volunteers who ensured we got this job done. Our team can’t wait to play on this field this coming season. The start of a new season is always exciting, but the start of the 2019 season will be something extra with the completion of the Falcon Pride Project!”
Mick Hermsen, Amherst Falcons super fan: As an Amherst sports fan, I’m absolutely thrilled that Phase One of the Falcon Pride Project has been approved! Very excited to have track meets and soccer matches on campus in Amherst, and can’t wait for Friday nights to watch Big Blue on a new top-notch field. Go Big Blue!
Sherry Oleson, Amherst Elementary School principal: “I am so proud of our community and school with the support they are giving to the Falcon Pride Project; there truly is no other place like Amherst. This is an exciting time for our Falcons and all future Falcons!”
Joe Sbertoli, Amherst High School athletic director: “I’m excited about the positive impact that this renovation will have on our school, our student-athletes and our community. I am extremely grateful to all of the donors as well as the school board for making this project happen. Without the support of so many people, this would not have been possible. The generosity has been overwhelming!”
Gary Fitzgerald, Amherst track and field coach: “Our track and field student-athletes at the middle school and high school level will now have the ability to reach their full potential. In time we will be able to showcase their efforts and talents in front of the Amherst community and will no longer have to compete away from Amherst for all of our meets. I’m also relieved that we will no longer have to practice on a track surface that put our students’ safety at risk. Thank you to everyone who made this dream come true!”
Cathy Matson, Amherst Elementary School teacher: “What wonderful news to hear that the Falcon Pride Project is moving forward. I have been proud to teach in this district for many years and have witnessed first hand the support of this community in so many ways. This is just another example of how everyone pulls together to continue to provide excellence for the students of the Tomorrow River Schools. I can't wait to see the first games, matches and meets at our much-needed new complex. Here’s to 2019 and Falcon spirit!”
Bill Spees, Amherst High School soccer coach: “For the Amherst soccer program, this Falcon Pride Project is HUGE! Now the boys will have a place to practice and play on site, instead of traveling to Stevens Point. For the girls, we will be able to start our season on time outdoors with practice and games due to the artificial turf field. And we will also have a field where we can host tournaments which will be a great way for our program to raise additional funds!”
Ashley Phelan, Amherst High School teacher: “As a staff member, community member and parent, I am so excited for all the new activities that will be offered with the Falcon Pride Project. From bringing back our elementary school track meet, to having the high school soccer teams play right here in Amherst, I can't wait to see what this does for this already amazing community.”