You can’t miss it: Something incredible is happening on Ebben Field! Kohler Co.’s generous donation is allowing us to install the latest generation of athletic turf on the grandstand field at Ebben Field.
Kohler will be the first public school in Sheboygan County to install a synthetic athletic field. The field design marks this historic event. The bold “K” in the center of the field says it all. Covering the field with more than 102,000 square feet of AstroTurf’s 3D Rootzone system and virgin infill, the new turf will inspire fans to shout out “GO BOMBERS!”
Kohler student athletes will now be able to experience the superior features of synthetic turf. Athletic Director Joe Hildebrand said, “I couldn’t be more excited for our student athletes to have this opportunity.”
Varsity football coach Chris Zablocki added, “It is a very exciting time for the KLC football community. We are extremely thankful that our community has given our young players the opportunity to play on such a state-of-the-art playing surface.”
Growth, pride, and gratitude are on varsity soccer coach Rod Hogan’s mind. According to Hogan, “This project represents a huge step forward for our athletic programs as a whole. I truly see it as something that will fuel the continued growth and strengthening of our soccer program into the future. The team can’t wait for the opportunity to showcase the new field and show off our Bomber Pride style of soccer to stands packed with their classmates, families, and neighbors. A BIG thank you to the school board, the administration, and Kohler Co. for making this a reality.”
AstroTurf is the inventor of artificial turf. The district chose AstroTurf’s 3D series for its Rootzone® shock-absorbing technology and its 10-year warranty. Its features met the district’s high standards for improving player safety, playability and long-term turf integrity.
In continuation of the Ebben Field Master Plan, this significant improvement comes during the highest level of student participation in Kohler Schools’ athletics history. Space demands for practices, games, hosting events, and community use has grown.
School Board President Steve Cassady said, “One aspect of our athletic facilities has been noticeably out of balance, and that is the under-utilization of our football field. This field is the centerpiece of Ebben, yet over the course of a calendar year it is used less than one percent of the time.” This is due to having a grass surface, which is susceptible to rutting and degradation during the fall and spring if used outside of game situations.
According to Hildebrand, the limited fields on Ebben and in the Village have been the most difficult challenge to manage from both a utilization and maintenance perspective. In fact, the successes of last season’s varsity boys and varsity girls soccer teams magnified the need for a solution. These teams qualified for post-season play, earning home-field advantage to begin the playoffs. But they gave up their home-field advantage and played on the visiting team’s field because their home field did not meet WIAA length requirements. “More important was the missed opportunity to garner school and community pride from hosting home-field athletic playoff games in the Village of Kohler,” Cassady said.
After receiving feedback and evaluating several alternatives, Hildebrand identified synthetic turf as a best solution. The synthetic turf will be usable for both high school and youth football, boys and girls soccer games, and practices throughout all four seasons of the year. Adding to the experience is the ability for soccer games to be played “under the lights” and the potential for hosting weekend tournaments that could generate additional revenue for the district, as well as use by the broader community for adult leagues.
The varsity girls soccer coach, Lesley Cassidy, looks forward to the team’s continued success. Cassidy affirmed, “With this venue, we will be able to get outside earlier in spring to prepare for our season and avoid game cancellations due to poor field conditions. Furthermore, this field allows us the opportunity to host WIAA regional and sectional playoff games, so we can play in front of our home crowd!”
Superintendent Quynh Trueblood added, “This amazing project is happening because of Joe Hildebrand’s vision, the school board’s leadership, and Kohler Co.’s generous support. It is a special project that will prove to be a source of pride for the community for generations to come.”
There’s no doubt the first play date is highly anticipated by the soccer and football players, coaches, administration and school board. If all goes to plan, it is just around the corner. Come join Kohler Schools for a grand opening ceremony on the evening of October 19, beginning with a reception at 6:00 p.m.
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