Our local prep sports stadiums and arenas double as community icons, and in recent years, many Butler County school districts have made historic upgrades.
Prep and youth sports in the county’s 10 public school systems draw thousands to sporting events, producing memories and thrills that bind our region for generations.
The biggest change in recent decades has been the installation of artificial turf playing fields, which have freed local schools from fearing rain and snow games that often destroyed more fragile natural grass fields.
The latest area school looking to radically upgrade its sports facilities is Madison High School, which saw its grass field churned into mud at last fall’s playoff football game.
Here are seven of the many top sports facility upgrades at local schools in recent years:
1. Middletown High School’s new Wade E. Miller Arena is now the sports showcase in the city. The arena opened with fanfare and star-power in December as NBA Hall Of Famer – and Middletown alum – Jerry Lucas returned to his hometown to lead the celebration.
2. Fairfield Stadium’s $3.3 million renovation of its once aging stadium included new and larger grand stand, running track, locker rooms and concession stands.
In many ways the 4,900-seat stadium, just off of the heavily traveled Route 4 in Fairfield, has belonged to the entire school community and the generations that sat in its stands, played on its field and sprinted on its running track.
3. Hamilton High School’s Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium replaced its worn and faded artificial turf with a $400,000 upgrade that also brought brighter hues to the famed sports home of Big Blue football and other sports.
4. Edgewood High School moved into a larger, state-of-art building in 2012 and with it they unveiled one of the county’s most visually dramatic arenas – the Ron Kash Court. And in 2009 Kumler Field saw the installation of turf allowing boys and girls a nearly year-around playing surface.
5. Middletown High’s Performance Center was a quantum-leap upgrade from the old school’s weight and training room. Sitting along the concourse of Wade E. Miller Arena the modern facility has opened enhanced sports training for both school athletes and all students via physical education classes.
6. Talawanda High School – in the city of Oxford - traded up in a big way when it opened its new building and a new artificial turf field in 2012.
7. Fairfield opened three new schools simultaneously last fall and in so doing also unveiled three new gyms at Central Elementary, Compass Elementary and Fairfield Freshman School.
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