Clintondale improvements include football field upgrades

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published June 29, 2022

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clintondale Community Schools is embarking on a $5.2 million project to upgrade facilities around the district, including improvements and new field turf at Clintondale High School’s Don Seiferlein Stadium.

Approved 5-0 at the April 23 board of education meeting, the work will begin in the coming months and cover several facilities throughout the district, starting with parking lots.

“All of our parking lots had holes in them,” board member Jim Potter said. “They were pretty rough, kinda looks like I-94 in February.”

Clintondale Middle School and the district’s elementary schools will receive a new roofing, HVAC systems at each school will be replaced with newer models and new perimeter fencing will be installed around McGlinnen and Rainbow elementary schools.

But what Potter is most excited about are the upgrades coming to Don Seiferlein Stadium.

“I was a former athlete at Clintondale,” Potter said. “I played football there and ended up going on to play football at Michigan State. My thing was, when I got a chance to give back to our district or tried to, we were able to put together enough people that were interested in getting new field turf for our football stadium.”

The stadium upgrades, which will cost $1.68 million of the $5.2 million allocated for upgrades, will cover multiple facets of the game day experience. New lighting and fencing will go around the field, while the grandstands will be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will be accessible beyond just using stairs. A new track will replace the current one — which Potter called “dangerous” — and synthetic turf will replace the existing grass field.

The switch from grass to turf is expected to save $15,000 to $20,000, which is spent annually on maintaining the grass field, and the synthetic surface will make it easier to rent the field out for various sports when not in use by the district.

The turf will also have benefits specific to football and other sports, according to football coach Dave Schindler.

“The turf field is going to be a game changer,” Schindler said in a statement put out by the district. “We will never have to worry about playing in the mud again. The turf will let our athletes display their talents and not be slowed down by the weather conditions. ... We also will be able to practice on a great field. In the past, we practiced on a water-filled muddy field, trying to get ready for a playoff game. Student-athletes will see the beautiful field and want to be a Dragon. We will be able to add to our success with a turf field; an elite field for an elite program.”

The stadium upgrades are expected to begin next spring and could be ready for fall 2023.

Between the facility upgrades and bringing in a new food services provider, Potter believes the changes will help Clintondale Community Schools attract new students and retain current ones.

“We believe that you can’t get students to your district by having run-down facilities [and] a lack of classes or programs for kids,” Potter said. “Believe it or not, kids want to go to school districts that have top-notch athletic facilities. That’s a draw to kids and parents alike, so we are really pleased with what we have been able to do.”