Business supporters, rental fees fund OCHS stadium renovation
For nearly 50 years, Oregon City High School's Pioneer Memorial Stadium has been a gathering place for the Oregon City families. With the athletic arena due for safety upgrades, in May the high school launched a summer renovation project to improve the track and the all-weather field. Restoring an even, well-cushioned playing surface will mean fewer sports injuries.
A substantial portion of the $1.4 million project funds came from 13 years of field rental fees paid by outside athletic groups who use the facility.
Additional revenue for the project will be generated through a new digital scoreboard, which provides a venue for paid advertising. No district operating funds will support this project.
"We knew when we installed the all-weather field that for the safety of our athletes, it would need to be replaced after a decade or so," OCHS athletic director Andy Jones said. "With careful maintenance, we've stretched its life to 13 years, but this just can't wait any longer."
The stadium sees heavy year-round use from boys and girls athletic teams, including football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, and track and field.
"I've been playing in Pioneer Stadium since fourth grade," freshman lacrosse player Ryan Peters said. "These upgrades have been a long time coming, and I'm really excited the work will be complete for our fall season. The new field, scoreboard, and sound system will bring a lot of pride to all the athletes who play for Oregon City High."
"Many businesses support Oregon City Schools," principal Tom Lovell said. "When you have all the little kid programs as well as all the high school programs practicing and playing games at our stadium, local businesses see that as a tremendous marketing opportunity.
"That revenue will enable us to get these safety upgrades completed in time for fall sports."
Several local businesses are eager to participate in the new advertising program, including Les Schwab Tires and Dutch Brothers Coffee.
An added bonus of the digital scoreboard and the new audio system is the learning opportunity it will provide to high school students interested in sports broadcasting, journalism, and marketing careers. Teens will gain real-world experience with videography, film editing, and interview techniques by preparing materials for the new scoreboard.
"Our goal is to have this project complete in time for daily doubles in August," said superintendent Larry Didway. "We have a long, proud tradition of supporting Oregon City athletes dating back to our 1921 (football) rivalry with West Linn High School. I'm proud to see that community support for our teams is as strong today as it was almost a century ago."