Dubuque student athletes take memories from field - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque student athletes take memories from field

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The renovation of Dubuque Senior High School's football field and track facilities begins Monday.

It's a project a long time in the making, and on Sunday evening, a ceremony marked the start of the deconstruction process.

Officials with the Dubuque Community School District, parents, coaches and student athletes from both Dubuque Senior and Hempstead High Schools attended the event at Dubuque Senior's Dalzell Field. One by one, school board members and others ceremoniously took a sledgehammer and whacked a set of cement steps leading up to home team's bleachers.

Dubuque Senior sophomores Michael Williams and Cole Wilbricht both run track and play football, so they know the drawbacks of Dalzell Field.

"I mean it's old," Williams said. "It's not the best track, and we've run on it before and chunks have been torn up out of it and stuff."

Flawed though it is, Dalzell has still been home field for thousands of student athletes throughout the decades. That's why students at the ceremony helped themselves to mementos, including chunks of the track and signs from the bleachers.

"This is the starting point of the 110 hurdles, lane 1," Wilbricht said, as Williams held up a large patch of the track's surface. "I also have lane 2 in the back of my car."

"It's very exciting. We've been waiting for this for a long time," Amy Hawkins, district athletic coordinator, said.

The improvements are far more than just aesthetically pleasing.

"It'll be handicap accessible. It'll be a place that I think people in our community are going to want to come to watch games and events and use for many years to come," Hawkins said.

Dalzell Field is home turf for the football program at Dubuque's Hempstead High School as well.

During the renovation, both teams will play at Hempstead, which has its own field renovation set to start in May. Hawkins said that's supposed to be completed in August.

Wilbricht and Williams will have the field at Dubuque Senior High School back for the 2013 football season.

"I feel bad for our juniors," Wilbricht said. "They're hard-working, and I think they should deserve a field, but, I don't know, we'll be glad to have it our senior year."

The renovation is an approximately $9 million project. Hawkins said the district plans to have it ready for track season next spring.

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