Director Dennis Oehlers gets some help from Polaris the mascot as he leads the Woodward High School marching band during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new stadium at the school. THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
A sports stadium isn’t just a place for practices and games, but a centerpiece of a neighborhood trying to reclaim itself.
That was the message conveyed Wednesday at Woodward High School.
Woodward students, staff, and alumni joined city, school district, and county leaders on an appropriately windy and chilly morning — the school’s mascot is a polar bear, after all — outside the school at Central and Stickney avenues for the groundbreaking of the school’s football stadium.
For years, Woodward and Scott high schools have been without football stadiums or tracks. If all goes to plan, that will change, starting this fall. That has the Woodward community excited. Carter Coley, a Woodward football player who will be a senior in the fall, said the new stadium will mean his team won’t play all its games away.
“We feel equal to each and every Toledo Public School [now],” young Coley said.
Bryan Robinson, a Woodward graduate who spent more than a decade in the NFL, recalled how in the early 1990s, home games at Woodward had to be cut short because its stadium had no lights.
“This is definitely something we needed for the community,” he said.
The district will break ground May 22 on a football stadium at Scott High School. Stadiums at Woodward and Scott are scheduled to be completed by the end of August for the beginning of the football season.
Woodward’s will be next to the school that was opened in 2010, and on the spot of the building it replaced. Scott’s will go behind its renovated Collingwood Boulevard home.
The district has budgeted $1.1 million for each stadium. Business Manager Jim Gant estimated the district needs about $500,000 in privately raised money for each stadium to have everything desired in the projects.
Both fields will be turf, and the Woodward project includes a track. The district has applied for a $200,000 NFL grant to install Astro turf at the Woodward field. Scott’s stadium likely will have a concession stand and stadium seating capacity for 1,000 home fans and 500 visitors.
But Scott will initially be without a track. A full-sized track would require TPS to buy three or four occupied homes on Winthrop Street and raze them to clear space. Previous suggestions of a smaller track as an alternative were resisted by alumni, so TPS is waiting to build a track that will be full-sized.
Artists rendering on display during a ground breaking ceremony for a new stadium at Woodward High School. THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON