Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE VISION FOR EGGERSS STADIUM?
Together, with the support of community members, Van Wert City Schools’ board of education, superintendent, and administration envision preserving the iconic Eggerss Stadium to create a multi-purpose outdoor space in downtown Van Wert.
After renovations, including the installation of artificial turf, Eggerss Stadium will be an accessible space the entire community can enjoy. It could be used as an outdoor entertainment venue, a "green space" for youth programs, a place to host youth sports, a practice space for baseball and softball when their fields are wet, and more.
As downtown Van Wert continues to evolve into an exciting entertainment destination, renovating Eggerss Stadium fits perfectly into the preservation of our historic downtown.
WHAT RENOVATIONS WILL TAKE PLACE?
Renovations will begin as early as possible while preserving the 2022 football season at Eggerss Stadium. Estimated to be completed in Fall 2023, the renovations are primarily centered on safety and accessibility, expanded usability, and the preservation of tradition. Renovations and enhancements include:
Safety & Accessibility
- Concrete restoration of stadium infrastructure
- Widening aisles and adding handrails
- Replacing safety railings
- Handicap seating/accessibility in the stadium
- Artificial turf field, which allows our stadium to become a multi-purpose venue
- New concession building, with storage
- New, larger restrooms for both men and women under the stadium
- New marching band bleachers (two) behind the south end zone
- Expanding home side press box, adding handicap accessibility
- Additional parking
- Locker rooms (two) for teams under the stadium
- Storage under the stadium
Preservation of Tradition
- Preservation of the Cougar Pride wall
WHAT IS THE COST OF RENOVATIONS?
After a thorough analysis, the budget is estimated to be $5 million, which will be funded primarily through a 20-year bond on the May 2022 ballot. The annual cost for an individual owning a home with a $100,000 taxable value is approximately $35 a year.
ARE THERE ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT THESE EFFORTS?
There will be numerous opportunities for naming rights, and other fundraising efforts may take place throughout the project.
HOW WILL THE STADIUM BE MAINTAINED FOR YEARS TO COME?
Eggerss Stadium will be maintained through athletic and operating funds. With the installation of artificial turf, VWCS expects to save at least $25,000 a year in field maintenance alone.
Click here for a 30-year look back on what maintenance has been performed to Eggerss Stadium.
There are many great plans in place for our city's future; Van Wert is thriving and the energy of downtown is palpable. Renovating Eggerss Stadium is an excellent opportunity to create a positive impact on our community while preserving the history of downtown.
Additionally, bond rates are historically low, allowing VWCS to maximize the investment of our stakeholders.
How We Got Here - The History Behind the Decision to Renovate Eggerss Stadium
In December 2016, a Stadium Committee was formed to help VWCS determine how to proceed with the dilemma of the aging Eggerss Stadium; issues of safety and accessibility were becoming more apparent with each passing year.
A Stadium Survey was offered to the public in October 2017, with three options:
- Renovate Eggerss Stadium
- Demolish and rebuild on the current stadium site
- Build a new complex at the current high school campus
The Stadium Committee wanted to ensure that all three options presented were state-of-the art, long lasting, and something that Van Wert could be proud of for a very long time. Roughly 71% of respondents chose renovating Eggerss Stadium as their first preference.
During the December 2017 Board of Education meeting, the board authorized to begin strategic planning to address the Eggerss Stadium Project.
Through 2018 and into 2019, the Stadium Committee continued to work hard to evaluate the scope of this project, including design, cost, timing, and fundraising. However, the most pressing need at this time was the visitor bleachers at Eggerss Stadium. The BOE approved the use of up to $300,000 in Permanent Improvement funds to replace the visitor bleachers as well as several other improvements, prior to the 2018 football season.
In September 2018, the BOE contracted with Howard Benson, CEO of National Community Development Services to conduct a Feasibility Study, a face-to-face interview with individuals from the community to ascertain their interest in providing financial support for this project.
The results of the Feasibility Study fell very short of the expectations; Mr. Benson concluded approximately $1 million could be raised in private funds. His professional opinion was that VWCS could not move forward with the Stadium Project without either a sole donor willing to provide a large portion of the funds or a successful bond issue to pay for the difference.
Since 2019, the Board of Education has continued to discuss the Stadium Project and how best to proceed, all while keeping the results of both the Stadium Survey and Mr. Benson’s Feasibility Study in mind.
2020 was a difficult year for education nationwide due to the pandemic. The 2021 school year has started off as “normal” as possible for VWCS and our students’ education remains our highest priority. However, with bond rates at a historical low, VWCS has decided the time is now. By placing the Eggerss Stadium Renovations on the May 2022 ballot, it allows us to maximize the investment of our stakeholders at the lowest cost possible.
WHAT ABOUT THE DISTRICT'S OTHER NEEDS?
Our district has many elements that it maintains, and we recognize our other needs, such as a bus barn and baseball/softball complex. However, the time has come that the safety and accessibility concerns of the stadium must be addressed as the next highest priority.
Safety is the top priority. By restoring the stadium concrete, the structural integrity will be preserved for years to come. The stadium aisleways will be widened and handrails will be added to provide ease of movement up and down the steps, and new railings will be installed at the front and top of the stadium.
Artificial turf also provides athletes with a consistent playing surface.
An elevator/lift will be added to the home side of the stadium, providing wheelchairs access to a platform. New ramps and other means of accessibility will be added to create a handicap-accessible space in the stadium to enhance viewer experience.
The visitor side was updated in 2018 with handicap-accessible bleachers that are up to current codes.
The grassy space behind the stadium and the current parking lot on the west side of the stadium can both be expanded for additional parking. During football games, a portion of Jefferson Street can be closed off to provide additional parking near the visitor’s entrance.
A stand-alone concession building will be located behind the south end zone. This building will be easily accessible by both home and away fans during football games and will contain storage for the marching band.
Additionally, building a detached concession stand frees up much of the congestion under the stadium.
Both men’s and women’s restrooms will be greatly expanded and enhanced with automatic fixtures and HVAC. Locker rooms will now have their own restroom and shower facilities.
A HISTORY OF EGGERSS STADIUM
Eggerss Stadium was built in 1936 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's government-funded Works Progress Administration (WPA). Hans A. Eggerss, inventor of the fiber drum and founder of the former Continental Can Company in Van Wert, loaned the money to the school system for materials. The facility was unofficially named Eggerss Stadium in his honor.
The first football game in the new stadium was played on September 18, 1936, between Van Wert and South High School from Fort Wayne, Indiana. 1936 was also the inaugural year for the Western Buckeye League with Van Wert, Wapakoneta, Celina, and St. Marys joining as the first members.
Since then, Van Wert has claimed the WBL Championship 18 times, appeared at State playoffs five times, claimed one State Runner-Up and one State Championship.
Van Wert High School Commencement was also held in Eggerss Stadium for a number of years, weather-permitting.
For a detailed history courtesy of Times Bulletin, please click here.
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