Replacing Gilpin Field press box could be 2024 project

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

With the sale of the Grambau Education Center crossed off the list of goals in the master plan, other pending projects moved into the priority spotlight.

Among a list of future projects receiving quite a bit of discussion during a Rogers City Area Schools board of education workshop Monday was the Gilpin Memorial Field press box at the football field, the gymnasium floor, the entrance sign and the refurbishing of the track.

Superintendent Nick Hein said the district is in the process of saving money from the sinking fund to replace the gym floor because it will be very costly, involving removal of the bleachers on both sides.

“We keep taking care of it, we’ve done a great job in terms of maintaining it,” said Hein. “’It does not change the fact that it has been sanded down three times and it is at the nailheads.”

Hein said the press box is in poor condition and will need to be replaced in the next five years.

“It continues to get worse,” said Hein. “It’s in poor shape, there is no doubt about it.”

Regarding the track, district officials have not been getting return calls back from contractors. A few years ago, post pandemic construction costs skyrocketed, forcing officials to put it on the backburner.

“THAT’S NOT going to happen next year,” said Hein. “We are going to start doing some small, in-house work on the track.” He also said the gym floor won’t happen next year, either.

Hein asked the board, even though three members were not in attendance, “Do we want to work on the press box and a new sign? I would say the press box is a necessity.”

“THAT’S A safety item, we cannot keep stretching that,” said board president the Rev. Dr. Greg Zurakowski.

Board member Andy Grambau, who has been involved with the broadcasting of Hurons’ football games for years, knows full well the issues with the press box.

“The assistant coach or the film guy comes in and want to know where to set up and we point up toward the roof,” said Grambau. “It’s outdated and, I don’t want to say embarrassing…”

“That’s a good word for it,” Zurakowski chimed in.

“I realize, in the bigger picture, we are only talking about hosting 16 games up there, assuming we have junior varsity,” said Hein. “We are going to continue to have a football program and we will need to address that, it’s an issue. Every season, it gets more rotten and it’s not getting better.” Hein added that’s what is up there cannot be saved.

Grambau asked if the bleachers would have to be replaced at the same time, he was told the bleachers are in good shape. 

Hein could only imagine what the cost of replacement would be since the small bleachers at the baseball and softball fields would be $10,000 each.

“Are we in agreement, to look at this for next year?” Hein asked. Board members were in agreement that “yes” it should be looked at. However, the press box project would need an architect and a building project manager.

“We want something that represents the community and distric

t,” said Zurakowski. “It would be nice to have our guests under cover and have decent facilities.”

HEIN SAID the entrance sign, which went up in 2006, has been shut off for the time being. He wanted the board to consider replacing the sign next year.

Rogers City elementary principal Steve Kowalski said he would be interested in a new sign along Erie Street and also made a suggestion.

“Wouldn’t it work for greater longevity with a high-definition screen in comparison?” Kowalski asked.

Zurakowski recommended replacing the entrance sign and adding one to the elementary.

“And see where we come in at,” said Zurakowski.