Boone Grove took the first steps toward an effort to build the school’s first football field and track with an online fundraiser last week.
“I believe this would be a great community resource,” Boone Grove athletic director Marcus Banning said. “Yes, we could host football and track on location, but this could also be open to the public for summertime exercise. I do think hosting football at Boone Grove, which is closer to home, would bring in more students as well as more community members that may not have students active at the high school or the corporation.”
The initial goal is to raise $10,000, Banning said. The project is expected to cost significantly more, but the school is “testing the waters,” he said.
The football team practices at the high school. A field was put in when the school began the program in 2009 but there are no bleachers or other facilities. The Wolves varsity program opened in 2011.
Football equipment is kept in a storage closet in the school’s gym near the weight room and wrestling room, Boone Grove football coach Dan Kukulski said.
“So far, we are just in the cost-gathering stage. I’ve gotten quotes on various parts of the project if we were to install everything new, but we are also hoping to receive donations not just monetary, but also in materials and labor,” Banning said. “We looked at sites last year in addition to the costs, and are just in the cost-gathering and capital raising process now.”
Home football games are played at Valparaiso High School, which charges BG a rental fee, Banning said. In the past, they’ve been played at Chesterton and Valparaiso University.
“Playing at Valparaiso High School has worked. We appreciate the fact that they have worked so hard to give us a place to play. That being said, it isn't home. It feels like your visiting a relative or good friend but it’s just not yours,” Kukulski said. “Having our own home field, in my opinion would give the program that stamp of approval and validation from the community.”
Kukulski said he’ll be involved in planning as much as he’s asked to be. He’d like to see a turf field that could be used by soccer, softball, baseball and even community sports teams. He used the sports facilities at Crown Point and Whiting as examples, if funding allows.
“I believe all school corporation athletics can benefit,” Kukulski said. “I feel that a school corporation is a key factor when people are deciding where to settle down and raise a family. Boone Grove is a great community but we can make it better and I think a project like this can help make it more appealing.”
Kukulski has a message for anyone in the community considering donating.
“For 10 years, every weekend our players and cheerleaders have boarded buses to play and cheer for a game they love,” he said. “Please help us raise funds and materials so we can develop a true home field that would benefit not only the football and track teams but a community as a whole.”