These are exciting times for Ripon Christian High athletics.
The future was paved Friday with the ground-breaking dedication ceremony of the Athletic Complex. The 3.65-acre field will be the new home of the Knights’ football and soccer programs.
Eddie Erdelatz, who is an assistant football coach at RC, indicated that the nuts and bolts of the project should be ready by mid August or, rather, on time for the prep season.
The project was made possible via fundraisers, with Phase 1 consisting of the field, bleachers, lighting, concession stand, retaining walls and restrooms tallying $1.1 million, according to Erdelatz.
The other parts of the plan – namely, the athletic complex arbor, stadium entry & memorial fountain, and football-viewing terrace arbor – will come later.
“This is a special occasion for Ripon Christian – past, present and future,” said Superintendent Eric Segaar.
He praised the efforts of those behind the project, which has been a long time in the making.
“If you talked to some someone five or 10 years ago it would not have been possible,” Segaar added.
Athletic director Kevin Tameling mentioned that the complex is a great addition to the community.
“It will enhance our other sports (baseball and softball) due to the concessions, lights and infrastructure,” he said.
Trey Ozenbaugh was teary eyed to see the project finally become a reality. He along with school board member Becky Hoekstra, boys varsity soccer coach Keith Terpsma, girls varsity coach Tameling, and student athletes Sean Broker and Carly Tillema did the honors of shoveling up the ground while releasing the helium-filled balloons.
The capacity seating for this athletic complex is 1,500. Included will be 1,000-seat bleachers with a two-story press box / coaches’ box on the home field side and 500-seat visitors’ bleachers on the opposite side.
Plans for the end zone — adjacent to Maple Avenue – call for a scoreboard along with a cross and a flag pole. The opposite end will be the main entrance.
In addition, a visitors’ side parking consisting of 40 stalls and two handicapped spaces are planned for the northwest corner of the athletic complex.
The entire project will be a link to the 17.11 acres on campus consisting of the softball and baseball facilities.
The plans went before the Ripon Planning Commission and were approved back in April 2013.