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Stadium fees come to Oak Harbor

If community groups want to use Wildcat Memorial Stadium, they will have to pay.

The Oak Harbor School Board approved instituting user fees for Wildcat Memorial Stadium during its Monday evening meeting. The fees were put in place so the school district can recoup the costs of operating the new facility.

The school district is placing a different fee scale depending on the type of group wanting to use the facility. The fee schedule itemizes the costs for lighting, custodial, the stadium supervisor and the stadium itself.

Superintendent Rick Schulte said that groups he talked to understood the need for user fees.

“The general sense is that people want to pay user fees,” Shulte said during Monday’s school board meeting. But he added that people gulped when they learned how much it costs to operate the stadium.

When Wildcat Memorial Stadium opened last fall, it offered a larger, more modern venue for school district athletic events. The larger space meant more cleanup and utility costs. During home football games, custodians would fill two Dumpsters full of trash.

Officials have estimated that it costs $58,000 a year to operate the stadium. They also want to save $100,000 a year for the field replacement, which will happen in 15 years.

The school district did make one change to the fee schedule from earlier drafts. Officials lowered the fee for the lights to $45 an hour from $65 an hour. The lower fee matches the electricity use for the lights. Staff came up with the figure by watching the electricitc meter.

To help further offset the costs of operating the stadium, the school district will negotiate new arrangement with the school’s Booster Club and Associated Student Body. The school district wants to recover costs for trash removal and utilities. The Booster Club operates the concessions at the stadium. The ASB operates the ticket booths.

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