(Posted March 29, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
A number of improvements are in the works for Madison-Plains Local Schools athletics.
Mobile app and new website
Among the improvements are a new website and mobile app set to go live this summer. Both will make it easier for parents and the general public to find and receive information about the district’s sports teams.
Currently, Madison-Plains uses VNN, a third-party provider of sports management software. The district is switching to Mascot Media for a more comprehensive, individualized, and professional look, said Madison-Plains Athletic Director Zane Scheiderer.
“With Mascot Media, we can make the website more our own. We can put more content on it, each team will have its own page, we can upload pictures with rosters, and upload schedules,” he said. Mascot Media also offers a platform for local sponsors to place ads on the website.
The big bonus, Scheiderer said, is that the new provider will implement a mobile app for the district, providing an easy way for fans to find information and for coaches to communicate quickly with parents and athletes. For example, when weather forces cancellation of practices or games, coaches can send out push notifications. Currently, coaches use a variety of apps. The new set-up will put everyone on the same page and offer more information overall.
Concession building, gym sound system, and possible new ball field
As for facilities and equipment, Scheiderer said the department is in the process of replacing the concession building at the softball and baseball fields. The pre-fabricated building is dilapidated. The new building will be pre-built, as well.
Timing of installation depends on securing permits. Scheiderer said he hopes to get the work done sometime in the next few weeks. As part of a deal with Pepsi, which provides the district’s vending machines, the district receives a payout from Pepsi every few years. Money from that payout will go toward the concession stand replacement.
The sound system at the high school/middle school is in dire need of replacement. Scheiderer has been working with the athletic boosters and other clubs and organizations to fund the replacement which should be completed in the coming weeks.
A project Scheiderer hopes to make a reality this summer is the addition of an auxiliary baseball/softball field.
“It’s a struggle with two high school teams, JVs, and then junior high for practices with no lights down there,” he said.
Use of the existing fields go primarily to the high school baseball and softball teams. The younger teams end up practicing in the grass.
“A new field would give them a place to at least practice on dirt, if not play games,” Scheiderer said.
He added that he is waiting to see how the district’s May 2 bond issue goes before moving ahead with the project. The district is seeking voter approval for funding the construction of a new K-12 building on the current campus. At the same time, the district is putting together a long-term plan for the school grounds–determining where buildings and facilities will go now and into the future. Scheiderer wants to make sure the location of the new ball field works within that plan. Should the field project move forward, he plans to use Pepsi funding to cover costs.
First-ever cross country meet
Madison-Plains will host a cross country meet on school grounds on Sept. 19. So far, three schools besides Madison-Plains have committed to participating. Scheiderer said that, to his knowledge, this will be the first meet the district has ever hosted. The department has plotted out a couple of possible courses. They are waiting for dry weather to go out and measure the options.
New athletic council and fundraising
The district’s new athletic council held its first meeting on March 1. The group is made up of coaches, administrators, and Stuart Yensel as a school board representative. The group will meet three times a year at the end of each sports season to share ideas for improvements and make recommendations for policy changes.
Scheiderer also noted he wants to hold fundraising events in the spring and fall, as well as gather sponsorships, to make general improvements to athletic programs and facilities.
Potential stadium project
A solar company is interested in possibly making a donation toward repairs and updates to the district’s stadium, turf, and track. The district is gathering estimates for such work.
“Once we get those estimates, we are going to give them to the (solar) company that has approached us so that they could consider them and make a determination on what it exactly is that they would like to donate,” reported Superintendent Chad Eisler.