Construction begins on new Hatchet Field as Hatchet Pride Project continues seeking support: Improvements totaling $2.25 million being made include new field, track and bleachers
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports and Nature Editor
A large swath of unearthed soil sits in the footprint of where a set of bleachers and a proud Hatchet Field once were at the Tomahawk High School.
CASE excavating machines pushed piles of dirt where the Tomahawk co-ed track and field team would typically run and the field where the Hatchet football team would normally entertain under the Friday night lights was completely gone as Hatchet Pride Project gets underway.
With the bulk of funds coming from private donations, the $2.25 million project to install a new track, new synthetic turf field, new bleachers and other facility enhancements to Hatchet Field has begun. Work is expected to run through the summer before being completed in the fall.
The volunteer group that spearheaded efforts to raise donations to make improvements to Hatchet Field, the Hatchet Pride Project Committee, says fundraising efforts continue as work begins on this exciting project. One way the organization is looking to create additional revenue is by having companies, organizations or families sponsor permanent tables that will be installed next to the concession stand.
They are hoping to have eight to 10 of the concrete table tops with steel bases donated and installed. The tables will be constructed through collaboration between Daigle Brothers, Evans Concrete, and Andy Peissig’s students and will be a very nice addition to the gathering area near the bleachers and food stand. Cost to sponsor a table is $10,000 apiece and funding for two has already been secured.
The tables aren’t the only way the Hatchet Pride committee is planning to recognize donors once construction is complete. A donor wall will feature names of supporters who contributed over $500 to help complete the project. Any donations totaling over $500 after July would be added to the wall the next year.
Kraus-Anderson Construction has been hired to complete the work. Designed by Stevens Point-based Point of Beginning, the construction project adds a new turf to the football field and 1,000-seat bleachers; and a new track surface, long jump, pole vault and exterior lighting. Once ground work is complete, crews are expected to begin hauling in the stone that will be used for the base of the track.
Electricians are also working to update and run all electrical for the press box, bleachers, concession stand (which is located under the bleachers), and lighting. The old electrical box is being upgraded to address the extremely loud buzzing when the lights were on – this safety concern will no longer be an issue – and the new LED lighting will be much more efficient and safe to operate.
The bleacher system is currently being built and will be delivered sometime in June for on-site assembly. The new bleachers will be a huge upgrade as they will be 100% code compliant and ADA compliant, meaning no more large gaps between railings, flooring, and wheelchair accessible and handicapped seating areas.
The concrete foundations will be coming in the next couple of weeks to start building the new enclosed bleacher system which will now allow for storage underneath. In another example of the community rallying behind the project, the Hatchet Pride Committee would like to recognize CASE Equipment as their local team was able to provide most of the machinery (excavators, bulldozers, etc) that Integrity Excavating is using for the project which was a significant savings!
Those who would like to show their Hatchet Pride by making a donation this exciting project can do so by sending checks directly to the school district at 1048 East King Road, Tomahawk, Wis. 54487; attention – Hatchet Pride Project, or donate online through the Hatchet Pride Project website at www.hatchetprideproject.com through their 501(c)(3) partner the Community Foundation of NorthCentral Wisconsin.