By Hannah Bensen, Current Staff
In the boys locker room, only two of the eighteen shower heads are functioning.
The West Bend High Schools locker rooms have not been updated since they were built in 1970. As a result, East athletic director Dennis Ziegler is looking into potential plans to renovate the locker rooms and other high school athletic facilities. He hopes to implement these plans in stages over the next five years.
“It’s where the majority of our athletes go from the time school ends,” Ziegler said about the importance of having good locker rooms. “It’s a team bonding place, and from a PE standpoint, it benefits all students. And not only our students, but when visiting teams come here they need somewhere to go.”
Tiffany Larson, the school board president, says she is open to ideas.
“Locker rooms allow for efficiency in preparation before and after games, safety for valuables, a space to connect pre, half-time and post-games, and a place for visiting teams to feel comfortable and welcomed,” Larson said. “In my opinion general camaraderie and team building occurs in locker rooms as well.”
Ziegler is looking into fundraising opportunities from donors, partnerships within the community, or funds from the Booster Club. He has also explored the possibility of getting grants.
“That money is out there and we are constantly researching to find out if we can get what we want without having to fundraise and not having to use taxpayer dollars to get it taken care of,” Ziegler said.
Once funds have been acquired, Ziegler will also have to make difficult decisions about which athletic facilities should be updated. Currently, the top priorities are the locker room, the weight room and storage.
“If we want to continue hosting WIAA state tournament games, we have to update the bleachers in our fieldhouse, we have to update the press box at the football field, we have to update the bleachers at the football field,” Ziegler said. “So it’s not just one location that we need to update, it’s a variety of issues.”
It is unclear at this time how much such renovations would cost. Recently a replacement of one shower tower in one of the locker rooms cost $5,800, according to Ziegler. The other remaining shower towers will likely need to be replaced in addition to the other updates.
While the plans are still in the early stages, Ziegler is hoping to make some smaller changes soon with more permanent changes coming in the next five years.
“Strong athletic programs are an attractive feature for students, and participation in athletics enhances student achievement and builds skills necessary for successful adulthood,” Larson said. “Functional facilities, updated equipment and apparel, and most importantly, the investment in successful, knowledgeable coaches must be part of the equation to make West Bend a ‘destination’ for athletics.”
(Photographs by Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief.)