HATCHET HOLLOW RENOVATION
Hatchet Hollow History:
Hatchet Hollow has served the school district since 1938. The field was built through a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, a federal program led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help lift the country out of the Great Depression. Over the years, changes to and around the field have occurred like the addition of North Elementary School (now Washington Upper Elementary) and other structures like the current visitors locker room, which is now 40 years old, and the current building for the home locker room. Originally, locker rooms existed under the main stands. However, weather and time has made this space unusable.
Why Renovate Now?
The current facility is in need of upgrades including the field, bleachers, public restrooms, locker room space, and storage to house supplies for activities. Part of the 2019 referendum building project included the construction of a new multi-purpose field. However, the 2019 referendum building project did not pass and community feedback included not supporting a referendum for a new building that included a field complex.
The opportunity now exists through the issuance of GO bonds to renovate Hatchet Hollow without increasing current tax rates on debt service, which results in a ZERO tax increase for homeowners and taxpayers. Washington Community Schools currently has one of the lower overall tax rates in the southwest Indiana region. This project can provide the current students and school community a multi-purpose facility that can be used more frequently by more student groups in a fiscally responsible manner.
Finally, the timing is right now as Washington Community Schools has leveraged pandemic relief funds (ESSER) the past two years for both educational purposes and maintenance to the school buildings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why not use these funds to build a new field on the 100 acre property the school district owns?
With no infrastructure (utilities, entrance/exit into property from surrounding roads, parking lots, etc.) on the current site, building a field without a school building is not feasible.
How long does an artificial turf field last?
Schools that have constructed similar fields in the last 25 years are seeing their turf last 15-20 years before an update must be made to the surface, similar to how carpet must be replaced over time.
What is the timeline for the renovation work to be completed?
On October 20, 2022, the Washington Community School school board passed the necessary resolutions for the sale of GO bonds and the specifications of the project. An architect has been hired and is working on the plans and design of the renovation work. Final design plans could potentially be approved at the November 17 school board meeting. Work on the field would begin in the late winter/early spring of 2023 and the target date for completion would be by the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
Why would you include striping the field for soccer when we have the Gwaltney Sports Complex soccer fields for our soccer teams?
The varsity soccer field at the Gwaltney Sports Complex will continue to be the primary home field for both the boys' and girls' soccer programs. The Gwaltney Sports Complex varsity soccer field is recognized as one of the best high school soccer fields in the region as it regularly hosts IHSAA sectional and regional soccer matches (like it did this year in 2022). Striping an articificial turf field for soccer does provide an asset for soccer for the following reasons:
- An advantage of artificial turf fields is how well and quickly they drain and dry out after rain. An artificial turf field with soccer striping at Hatchet Hollow would allow teams to practice or play games at the location if the Gwaltney field is too wet to play on.
- Washington Community Schools has a long history of hosting IHSAA soccer sectional and regional events. These events bring hundreds of people to town on days of tournament games. The IHSAA only assigns soccer semi-state games to those sites with an artificial turf field. Striping the renovated Hatchet Hollow with soccer lines would provide the school district with a field that could be considered to host semi-state events.