Wescott open house celebrates milestone

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 11, 2002

About 40 people turned out to visit the Wescott Field open house Wednesday -- before the rain started around 4 p.m.

"We've been pretty busy," said Al Eckmann, a member of the Wescott Field Project steering committee.

Eckmann and other Wescott project members relaxed in the press box of the track field after the rain had stopped the flow of visitors to the field.

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Three committee members had been showing visitors around the field and telling them what still is planned for the complex.

The most common question they encountered: why is it taking so long?

The project still has about $2 million dollars to raise before they can complete the renovations to the lockers rooms, stadium and tennis courts.

The project is being fully-funded by donations without loans or help from the school system, Eckmann said. Some have asked why the committee doesn't take out loans and get it done more quickly, but Eckmann said paying back the loans would make it more expensive.

"There's no loans, no interest," Eckmann said. "That's a big deal."

Volunteer work and contributions have also made a difference in the cost. Even at the open house, visitors said they would help with finishing the bleachers on the football field.

"People say, 'Call me and I'll help,'" Eckmann said. "It really, truly is a kind of community project."

Eckmann said Austin High School alumni are excited about the renovation and are glad it is being restored.

Duane Olson, who played AHS football in the 1940s, visited the field Wednesday. All four of his children played sports and he still attends AHS athletic events.

"This is quite an improvement," Olson said as looked out of the press box on to the rain-soaked track.

The project is in the middle of Phase II. Renovations to the interior of the stadium are almost complete. The next step will be to add locker rooms, new points of entry and new concessions and restroom facilities.

Phase III, the last phase, included renovations to the tennis courts and additional tennis courts. Committee members hope the project will be completed by spring.

"The comments I've been having is that they (the public) really like what we're doing," Eckmann said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at :mailto:cari.quam@austindailyherald.com