From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

After months of fundraising, Strobel Field will have a new look and name in 2011.

Cedar Point donated $500,000 to the Sandusky Blue Streak Booster Club on Thursday, enabling Sandusky High School to install long-sought-after turf at the field.

The booster club also received $150,000 from the Wightman-Wieber Foundation for the project, saving the school tens of thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.

Sandusky High School will rename the facility Strobel Field at Cedar Point Stadium, set to debut Aug. 26 for the Sandusky-Fremont football showdown.

“Obviously, we’re thrilled,” Sandusky High athletic director Susan Sackett said. “We’ve been talking and thinking about it for a number of years. So to be moving forward, we’re super excited.”

The booster club still has a lot of fundraising to do, she said.

Although it raised the necessary $750,000 to install the turf, the material only lasts about 10 years.

The school and booster club plan to approach other foundations soon to raise enough money to keep the turf for decades.

The school wants the money to only come from donations, Sackett said, so taxpayer money doesn’t get siphoned away from academics.

“We’re building a sustainable project,” she said. “We need to make sure we’re set for the future also.”

In addition to saving the district money, the new turf will enable the school and St. Mary’s Central Catholic High School to get more use out of the field.

Because of the field’s fragile conditions, the schools only have three to five games per week — sometime fewer depending on the weather, Sackett said.

It also can host only a few practices per week, which hurts the teams’ home-field advantage.

With turf, the schools can have practices and games nightly.

That means moving Sandusky soccer from Venice Heights Elementary back to Strobel Field, where more people will likely attend games, Sackett said.

Cedar Point president and CEO Dick Kinzel said his company is “thrilled” to make the donation.

“There’s a lot of pride in that school,” Kinzel said. “It’s a beautiful stadium, it has a long history and lots of tradition. I think it’s just going to be fantastic.”

Cedar Point couldn’t have made this donation last year, he said, but a strong 2010 left the company in a better position.

“It’s amazing what good weather will do,” Kinzel said.

Construction on the field will likely start in June, after the 2011 Relay for Life event.

The new donations could also help the school secure a National Football League grant worth $200,000 to help maintain the turf in the long run, Sackett said.

The school must submit its application later this month. It’s one of two schools competing for the grant.

Karlene Wieber, of the Wightman-Wieber Foundation, called the new turf “a blessing for the community.”

City commissioner Dave Waddington said the new field will be a source of pride for Sandusky.

“This isn’t just a schools thing,” Waddington said. “We all benefit. This has an upside for years to come. It upgrades our community. It’s something good to brag about on (this) side of Perkins Avenue.”