June 29, 2016

Partly sunny

Highland Schools break ground on $8 million sports complex

Highland football players are offered a chance to ceremoniously turn the dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $8 million sports complex at Highland High School in Granger Township on Monday night. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

Highland football players are offered a chance to ceremoniously turn the dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $8 million sports complex at Highland High School in Granger Township on Monday night. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

School board members shared the job of breaking ground for the district’s new $8 million sports complex with members of the Highland High football team.

At a ceremony Monday night in Granger Township, officials said they can’t wait for the community to visit and enjoy the new sports complex at the school when it’s completed next August.

“They’ve been working really hard to get work in before the snow flies,” Superintendent Catherine Aukerman said.

The project is expected to cost up to $8 million and will include a stadium that will seat up to 5,000. Football and soccer teams will play games at the stadium and track meets can be conducted on the eight-lane track that will circle the stadium’s field. The complex also will have tennis courts.

“Our (current) stadium has a field that can no longer stand up to Ohio weather,” Aukerman said.

She said she hopes that in addition to the sports teams who will benefit from the complex, band students and physical education classes will be able to take advantage of the facility.

Aukerman thanked the community for their support, and introduced a number of people who already made donations to the stadium to ease the financial burden on the district.

The Highland Athletic Boosters presented a check for $225,000 to the district Monday. Dan Petek, president of Castek Aluminum, announced his company would donate a hornet sculpture for the main entrance to the stadium. He said the sculpture is in the design phase, but Aukerman said his donation is valued at between $75,000 and $100,000.

Members of the Highland Hornets’ football team attended the event, and though many were seniors, they said they were happy for their younger teammates who would have the opportunity to play in a better stadium.

“I’m pretty excited for them; it’s going to be really nice,” said Tony Svoboda, a 17-year-old senior.

Tyler Frederick, a junior lineman on the team, said he’s looking forward to a locker room that’s a better fit to his large physique.

“I actually can’t fit to sit comfortably,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot more room.”

Students said the feature they were most excited about was the hornet sculpture. The centerpiece will be a source of school pride, a larger-than-life mascot.

“It’s going to be so sweet,” Frederick said. “It’s going to be awesome.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.


  1. Realistic says:

    What an embarrassment this truly is. I am glad that he Gazette continues to report on this egregious misuse of taxpayer money! Highland has sealed its fate with this afoul misstep.

  2. Go Hornets says:

    Good comment. School and community pride arent important. Highland looked so great when we couldnt even host playoff games last year due to outdated facilities. Community has much more than doubled in size since current facility was built. That is a lot of increased tax revenue coming from housing communities that use to be farm land. Time for you to retire to Florida and be closer to bitter teabagger HQ. Better yet, wait a year as your property value will increase when the stadium opens.

  3. Logical Thinker says:

    Ok, they need a new stadium but $8 million? Overkill! They couldn’t do it for 3-4 million dollars? It appears they are trying to outdo other schools with tax dollars.

  4. I think the point to be made here is ” Is not educate more important then a sport stadium?” I think the monies could have been better used for updates to the school buildings. To much emphasis is made on sports. Highland is just trying to out do other schools. EDUCATION IS MORE IMPORTANT. I will not support another Highland levy. And when property increases in value so do taxes. Ohio needs to reevaluate schools get tax monies.

  5. Highland Resident says:

    I am a recent Highland resident addition (the past 10 years) and do not currently have children in the district, as we choose to attend private school. I can honestly say though that the district does a fantastic job of using, and protecting school funds. They have leveraged ever dollar out of their current facilities (both schools and athletic facilities), and have worked with the community to ensure that as little impact as possible is passed on to the tax payer. (Donations, grant requests, fund raisers…etc). I live close to the school, and these facilities are in use all the time, and are an excellent return on the taxpayer value. Add in the fact that the district is rated Excellent, and it is clear that neither the taxpayer nor the educational mission is being short changed. My children will not benefit from this directly, but I am confident that the ROI on property values, student engagement, and community involvement will be returned multiple times over.

  6. hamerdown says:

    You must be a supporter of dictator obuma. You must be so proud.

  7. PrplRdr22 says:

    You do realize that the current field and stadium is so outdated that the students are at a high risk of injury. Plus the stands and facilities are falling apart. The funds for this do not come from the operating budget. Several million have been from private donors. Other money comes from Medina county sales tax. This school system has been rated EXCELLENT for the last 10+ years so the students are receiving a great education. Highland is not trying to out do other schools but rather catch up. Athletics/Marching Band/Activities are a vital part of a student’s education. This facility will benefit a lot of students and add to their Highland Pride. Our school district has done a phenomenal job with the tax payer’s money they receive that they have won awards for it. Our students leave Highland very well prepared for either college or life.

  8. PrplRdr22 says:

    Unfortunately, 3-4 million dollars won’t even get a finished stadium. If you ever get a chance to visit North Royaltons’, that cost $5 Million and that was 5-6 years ago.

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