Galesburg High School students and administrators broke ground Friday on a multi-million dollar upgrade to the school's sports facilities.
The $16 million project includes a new 2,840-seat football stadium, two new softball fields, renovations to the varsity baseball field, remodeling of the strength training room into a wrestling room, and construction of a 50,000 square-foot multipurpose building for P.E. classes and weight rooms.
Students said they were excited to have a facility they could be proud of.
"You're the view of Galesburg. A lot of people, when they come to town, they see the football field, and they'll just think a lot more of Galesburg if it's real nice and top class," said Matt Hawkins, a junior football player.
Superintendent Bart Arthur added that the project isn't just for athletes, but all students, as a major goal of the renovations is to improve physical education classes. He also pointed out that academics and extra-curricular activities go hand-in-hand.
"If you give kids a well-rounded education or keep them engaged in things... they may not be the best math student, but if they're good in band, they're gonna be engaged in school, and that's where our goal is with this whole project," said Arthur.
The upgrades to the sports facilities are just phase one of a multi-year project. After completion, construction will move to academic areas and the high school building itself. Future phases include lobby and security remodeling, roofing, and renovations to the gymnasium.
The project is being funded by a penny sales tax in the district.