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In with the new: Killdeer Public School complex update underway

Press Photo by Katherine Lymn New, taller light posts have been erected at the Killdeer Public School track and football field. The lights marked the beginning of an upgrade to the school’s complex, where the deteriorating old track prevents the school from hosting meets.

KILLDEER — Construction is underway for Killdeer Public School’s new football field and track.

Work on the Killdeer Cowboy Sports Complex started with the addition of new, taller lights around the stadium in May, said Suzi Tuhy, chair of the committee fundraising for the project.

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“I got goosebumps when those lights went up,” she said. “... We’ve needed this for so long.”

Fundraisers have been collecting donations for about a year from local businesses and residents with call-a-thons and other activities. They are also planning a raffle and supper for this fall. The Killdeer Public School Board has agreed to foot the rest of the bill of the $1.4 million first phase of the project.

The committee so far has raised roughly $244,500, and continues to work toward its goal of $400,000.

The board has committed $650,000 officially, and Superintendent Gary Wilz said it’ll give another $350,000 with hopes the fundraising committee meets its goal.

“We’ll need to just keep raising money,” Tuhy said.

“ We’re not that far off.”

If fundraisers don’t hit $400,000, the school will cover the rest, Wilz said.

“We’re hopeful that we can do even more fundraising but whatever the balance is obviously we’re going to be responsible for it,” Wilz said.

The $1.4 million will pay for the first phase of the project, which will give the football team a new field in time for its first game of the year in August. The field will have artificial turf to keep maintenance costs down and to stand up to wear and tear — it’ll get more use since development creeped onto the football team’s former practice field, Tuhy said.

The track is slated to be finished by September, she said.

There isn’t much planned for phase two, but it’ll involve upgrading the concessions area and stands. Currently, the concessions stand doesn’t have running water, and the bathrooms have recycled fixtures from a demolished grade school.

When the entire project is done, the whole complex will be handicap accessible, Tuhy said.

The current track is so run down that the school can no longer host meets. It is considered a hazard, with grass growing through cracks.

“It’s coming off in chunks,” Wilz said.

Fisher Tracks will use “post-tension concrete” as a base, with urethane rubber sprayed as the top layer, Wilz said.

After nearly a year of raising money, mostly in the form of many small donations, Tuhy and other organizers are excited to finally see the project break ground, so to speak.