Butler County prep sports fields and gyms continue to modernize with upgrades that officials say benefit high school athletes, non-sport students and local communities.
Across the county’s 10 school districts, recent years have seen schools invest millions of dollars – often involving partnership funding with private companies, mostly regional health care providers – to enhance their sports venues.
Here’s a look at some of those projects:
1. Madison schools moving closer to artificial turf
Madison Schools are the latest to move closer to adding the first artificial turf football and soccer field in the district’s history.
A $300,000 funding partnership with Premier Health, owners of Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, will help cover a portion of the $1 million costs for a plastic football and soccer field in exchange for naming rights.
Madison is one of three school districts – along with Ross and New Miami Schools – that played football and soccer on old-fashioned grass fields.
2. New Middletown arena part of schools construction project
In December 2017 Middletown Schools revealed a long-awaited, new Wade E. Miller Arena on its high school campus.
The gala celebration, which include high school boys and girls basketball games, also saw NBA Hall of Famer Jerry Lucas, city officials and thousands of fans and community residents pack the new arena.
The crowds included those curious to see the new sports facility, which included a state-of-art weight training area, wrestling team area, spirit shop and jumbo TV screens.
3. Artificial turf field and track stadium last piece of Middletown project
This spring will see the unveiling of a second, artificial turf football and soccer field for Middletown Schools.
The new field, which includes track and field surfaces, is on the Middletown High School campus and is the last part of a $96 million construction and renovation project by the city schools.
4. Hamilton adds new plastic turf field at football stadium
Hamilton High School saw a new, $400,000 second-generation surface of artificial turf laid down in Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium along with a new running track.
Like many other area districts, Hamilton officials had determined the original playing surface had worn out and needed replacing.
5. Monroe moving to replace turf sports field
In January, Monroe School officials announced the signing of a partnership agreement with a local health care provider to replace the district’s artificial grass field that had been in use for 14 years.
Most plastic turf fields have a projected life of about 10-12 years.
Monroe Schools’ partnership with Premier Health will see the medical center pay $150,000 of the replacement cost with the remaining $228,000 coming from the district’s permanent improvement fund as allowed by Ohio school law.