HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The school year starts in a little over two months in Howland. When the students return this fall, they will notice well over $500,000 in improvements to the athletic facility, including a new multipurpose turf field.
It’s all thanks to their community.
“It’s a huge reward and a project like this is actually far bigger in a community like ours than it might be in others that receive a substantial amount of state and federal funding,” said Howland Superintendent Kevin Spicher. “This is all community and local support we’re getting for something like this.”
The Howland Stadium Foundation was able to raise more than $325,000 through donations and business partnerships over the last five years. The Howland school board will cover the rest.
They can do that based on more than $100,000 in projected savings each year that you get with the low maintenance of an artificial surface.
“We’ve been waiting for this so people are excited,” said Howland Athletic Director Andrea Ferenac. “So they’re willing to share, and collaborate and cooperate because I think we all know and understand what this means for us.”
It means no more canceling soccer games because of rain. It means the band and majorettes will have a place to prepare and perform. It means the weather won’t ruin practice for spring sports and the football team will now compete on the same surface they play on almost everywhere else.
Bottom line, it’s for the kids.
“I’m incredibly excited about the program and the idea that this is just a small step of continuing to move forward, and having a proud past in Howland Schools and a roaring future that we have ahead of us,” Spicher said.
“I can’t put it into words completely, ” Ferenac said. “Even as I talk, you get goosebumps, you know? You’re just so happy to finally give them something back because they’ve already earned it. They deserve it and you want them to be a part of it.”
With the new turf field and the district’s decision to drop pay-to-play fees, Howland has seen an increased interest in athletics across the board this year.