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This article was published 23/5/2017 (879 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Their field of dreams will, after all, be a reality.
Key stakeholders involved in the LRSD community field project at Dakota Collegiate have confirmed the project will now move ahead after it faced an uncertain future. The project’s fate was put on shaky ground when the provincial government announced in March it will not be contributing funding for the field that had been approved and committed to by the previous NDP government.
With more details about private funding partners and plans for a redeveloped version of the project expected to be announced in the coming days, key figures have told The Lance that construction on the much-anticipated project will start soon. The field is designed for mixed educational and community use and, at press time, the project was scheduled to include the construction of an artificial turf playing field, mini-soccer area, basketball court, beach volleyball pit and an Indigenous education area designed by Rayleen Dutka, a human ecology teacher at the school.
At a recent fundraising gala dinner in support of the Alumni Field Capital Campaign and the project on May 11, LRDS’s superintendent Duane Brothers delivered an update about the capital campaign. At present, both public and private sources have shown their support for the project, including the City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Foundation, Qualico, Pinnacle, Myron and Marion Klysh, Dan Murray from the Murray Automotive Group, the Manitoba Cricket Association, and numerous other donors, some anonymous.
Brothers said it’s fitting that the project is supported by different elements of the community, as the new complex is intended to be accessible to everyone in the community.
"It’s unique to have a school-initiated project like this and it’s great that it’s being supported by both public and private funds. At the gala dinner, there was a bevy of business folks there that continue to show their support. We’re continuing to talk to members of the business community and we expect to have more to announce very soon," Brothers said.
"Another to draw from this is that the geography of Dakota Collegiate is unique because it draws from across south St. Vital and the surrounding community, so it’s fantastic that kids from schools like Victor Mager, Lavallee and Victor H.L. Wyatt will get opportunities that they might not normally get in the next couple of years."
Vice-principal Robbie Mager, and head of the school’s math department and coach of the varsity boys’ basketball team, Dean Favoni, have both been integral figures in the project since its inception and key organizers of the gala.
This year, the gala attracted 560 guests. In 2014, it had 440 guests. Guest speakers at this year’s event were Winnipeg Blue Bombers alumni Milt Stegall, Troy Westwood, Matt Dunigan and Rod Hill.
"Tens, if not hundreds of other businesses we haven’t mentioned have contributed to the campaign by buying tables at the gala," Favoni said.
"Part of the field is the cricket batting cage, which opened in October 2016, and now there is a lineup of kids to use it in the evenings and at weekends. Many of these kids are new Canadians, who may not have the means to play at Assiniboine Park."
Supporters for the cage included the Manitoba Cricket Association. Mager said another local donor that has gone "above and beyond" is Dakota Family Foods, which has been running an in-store and online campaign in support of the project.
"When I think back to when the project was a just a pipe dream and then I look at it now, it’s just amazing," Mager said, adding that area councillor Brian Mayes has been one of the field’s biggest supporters.
Go online at www.lrsd.net for more information.
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7111