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NBC gains right to name Spartan sports complex

The new outdoor athletic complex at Superior High School has a name. On Monday, the Superior School Board accepted a donation of $400,000 from National Bank of Commerce to secure naming rights to the complex for 15 years. When the facility opens in fall of 2014, it will be known as the NBC Spartan Sports Complex. “This will be the largest single donation that we’ve ever made, and it belongs here in Superior,” said Bruce Thompson, NBC bank president for Wisconsin banks. Thompson said NBC became interested in making a donation after the school district voted in October to allocate $4 million from its capital improvements fund for the complex. “When they made the bold move to decide to part with some of that and create this infrastructure for the athletic complex, that’s when they reached out to us,” Thompson said. “And we’re honored that they would look so favorably on a local company to be the keynote naming sponsor for this facility.” As part of the naming rights agreement, NBC will have its company logo displayed on all complex signage and printed material. The company logo will also appear on the turf at the 50-yard line on the football field and on the baseball field. The money from NBC will go toward improvements and enhancements to the original design for the sports complex. Ray Kosey, activities director at Superior High School, said the athletic complex planning committee has about 15 items on its wish list for the facility. “We have a list of things that, if we can raise enough money, we would like to add,” Kosey said. “One of the things at the top of our list is the outfield turf. We just feel that it would be more beneficial for us to have a facility that is 100 percent turf.” Other items on the list include lights and permanent bleachers for the baseball field, batting cages, improved team rooms, an upgrade to the scoreboard to add a video display, back rests for a portion of the football bleachers and improvements to the entrance plaza. “It’ll be a nice facility when it’s all said and done, and with NBC’s donation, that’s just going to make sure it’s exactly what we want,” Kosey said. The complex will include an artificial turf football/soccer field, an outdoor track and an artificial turf baseball field. The original plan called for artificial turf in the infield only, but the planning committee recommended adding turf to the outfield as well after visiting other high schools with new fields. “They went around and interviewed lots of high schools and asked them what they would do differently if they had it to do over again, and that was one of the first things they said is that rather than seed the outfield they would (add) turf,” Thompson said. “It makes sense in our climate,” said Len Albrecht, president of the Superior School Board and a member of the planning committee. Superior’s spring sports season was cut nearly in half in 2013 when snowstorms stretched into May. The Spartan baseball team played its home opener May 2, and the season ended less than a month later. “Our kids are usually well behind, especially in the spring, because we can’t get outside,” Kosey said. “This will give our programs in the spring and the community a chance to maybe get outside a little bit sooner.” Albrecht said the school district is not currently in serious discussions with any other high-level sponsors, but naming rights are still available for the football/soccer field and the baseball field. The school district also plans to kick off a campaign to bring smaller donors on board. “We’re going to be sending a tri-fold flier out to former students, the community, anybody who wants to be a part of it,” Albrecht said. Money donated for the sports complex will go toward improvements for the facility. The School Board discussed setting aside a percentage of donations to replenish the district’s capital improvements fund but opted for a different approach. “We have our wish list of additional things we would like to add on to the complex to make it better. Once we get to the end of that wish list, then any other donations raised will go back into the fund,” Albrecht said. “And that wish list has been stopped; it has been cut off.” The school district is already seeking bids on artificial turf for the complex, and it is expected to seek bids on construction in February. Groundbreaking is scheduled for spring. “The Superior Spartans have deserved a home of their own all this time, and now is the time,” Thompson said. “I believe it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to set this right. “Our local company has over 48 Superior school district graduates working for it right now, and they bleed Columbia blue and white. There’s countless children and grandchildren as well that are going to be able to enjoy this facility for many years to come.”