KCSD hosted Track & Field groundbreaking

The Keokuk Community School District hosted a groundbreaking of the Track & Field at Calvert Stadium on Monday, April 22. Student athletes, current and former coaches, the Keokuk Board of Education, the superintendent and athletic director and staff were in attendance.

“This project is truly going to be special for our Keokuk school district and our community,” Zach Summers, KCSD Athletic Director, said. “We are proud to be from Keokuk and proud  to be a Chief.”

KCSD plans to honor the history of the Jim Kersten Track & Jim Vandenberg Field, which were named in 2021 in honor of the longtime coaches at Keokuk High School. However the facility will be updated with modern functionality to make it a community gathering place based on phase one of a two phase renovation plan. Phase one of the plan was approved by the Keokuk School Board in September 2023.

“I’m excited to see our Keosippi Relays make its return home and hopefully increase the number of teams back to where it used to be,” Shaina Arnold, KHS Varsity Boys and Girls Track Coach, said. “Great things are happening here and I’m excited to be a part of it!”

The improvements will include the replacement of the existing track, which would remain a six-lane track with an eight-lane 100 meter section and the track and field event stations will be replaced, along with a turf field will replace the existing grass field for football and soccer, and execution of a drainage improvement plan. 

“Our home track meet will be at home next year,” Clint Wray, Keokuk Board of Education President, said. “It’s a great day to be a Chief!”

An additional benefit of replacing the field with turf is the ability to allow the entire community to utilize the field for events.

“We plan to dominate right here on this field and to dominate it starts with the facilities,” Marvin McNutt, KHS Head Varsity Football Coach, said. Summers added, “It is my hope that when this opens that we will have more kids participating in our sports. … Also, Friday nights in our community should be right here!”

The track and field improvements are a part of the first phase of a planned two phase renovation of Calvert Stadium that will remain within the current footprint. The need for renovations were identified by the school community as a priority from a survey conducted in the spring of 2023. Klingner and Associates PC will complete the project.

Bidding on phase one of the project occurred in January and this phase of the project will conclude in September 2024. The proposed cost for an artificial turf football field that would include drainage is $1,514,550, and the proposed cost to replace the track is $1,513,184. An Athletic Facility Public Hearing and Financing Public Hearing were held in September 2023 to approve the use of the school infrastructure sales, services and use tax revenues for the proposed athletic facility infrastructure project, that would not exceed $4,000,000 in cost. The funds are in the State Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) Fund and distributed to the School District pursuant to Section 423F.2 of the Iowa Code. The use of SAVE Funds does not increase the District’s tax rate.

There will be further discussions on when phase two of the project will begin in Fall of 2024.

PHOTO CAPTION: Heidi Harness (left), KCSD Business Manager, Bonnie Peevler, Keokuk Board of Education member, Clint Wray, KBOE president, Dr. Kathy Dinger, KCSD superintendent, Kim Wyatt and LeAnn Clifford, KBOE members, broke ground on the Track & Field on April 22.