New press box installed at Lincoln High School’s Mettner Field

Crews worked to install the new pressbox at Lincoln High School's Mettner Field last week. The press box was constructed by inmates at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Brennan Johnson, owner of Elite Construction, demolished the original press box, while Chad's Crane Service and Donley Welding assisted with installing the new press box. Several volunteers also assisted with the project. (Photos by Jason Curtis)

Crews worked to install the new pressbox at Lincoln High School’s Mettner Field last week. The press box was constructed by inmates at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Brennan Johnson, owner of Elite Construction, demolished the original press box, while Chad’s Crane Service and Donley Welding assisted with installing the new press box. Several volunteers also assisted with the project. (Photos by Jason Curtis)

By Jennifer McDaniel, for the Lincoln Sentinel

A new press box is in place at Lincoln High School’s Mettner Field just in time for the Leopards’ upcoming football season.

The improvement project, which was completed August 10, has been a work in progress since the 2014-2015 school year, said USD 298-Lincoln School District Superintendent Kathy Robertson.

“Our old

press box was dangerous,” Robertson said. “(The) eagle’s nest wasn’t able to be used, and the floor in the main press box was very soft. The press box moved when the wind blew.”

Unlike some improvement projects, the district only had to cover material costs since the inmates from the Ellsworth Correctional Facility built the press box.

“Bud Hachmeister (with the) Ellsworth Correctional Facility was a tremendous help, and it was a great experience for us,” she said. “(It) saved us tens of thousands of dollars.”

Total costs were unavailable, Robertson said, since the district has not received all project-related bills. However, all materials were paid by the district’s capital outlay fund.

The project, Robertson said, involved the removal of the original press box, which was demolished by local contractor, Brennan Johnson, along with volunteers Monty Breneman, school board president, TJ Jonsson, Bjorn Jonsson, Patti Winters and Jacob Winters. The new box was installed with the help of a crane from Chad’s Crane Service, welder Tari Donley and several volunteers.

In addition to a new press box, a new fundraising effort is underway to further enhance Mettner Field.

The school district is selling steel markers which will be placed alongside a new sidewalk installed between the field house and the stadium.  Each marker, which measures 4 inches wide by 8 inches long, will be placed along the walk, leaving a permanent mark for future generations to see, Robertson said. Each marker is $100.

Robertson said the idea was the result of a Mettner Field Committee meeting during the previous school year. The committee, which was formed this past school year, was established to look at what the committee wants the football field to look like and projects needed to fulfill its vision.

Officials said that once all the markers are sold, the project will be initiated. While officials are hopeful the project could be completed by track season, it could be next fall.

Additionally, officials said the district is looking for dirt for the project, or someone to haul it in.

For more information, contact the USD 298 Board Office at 785-524-4436.

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