Generous $350,000 Donation Boosts New Home Bleacher Project at Independence Local Schools’ Alumni Field at Stan Skoczen Stadium

Independence Local Schools has received two anonymous donations that will allow the district to construct long-awaited new home bleachers at Alumni Field at Stan Skoczen Stadium. A $350,000 monetary gift, along with the donated labor and removal of the existing bleachers, provides a tremendous boost towards completing this much-needed $1 million-plus facility upgrade.

Replacing the home bleachers, which are outdated and failing inspections, has been one of the district's top priorities for over a decade. Now, thanks to these generous donors, Independence Local Schools can finally move forward with the project. 

"As a district, we are grateful for the generosity that continues to show up from community members," said Assistant Superintendent Tom Dreiling, Independence Local Schools. "This bleacher project was an area of concern recognized by a family in our community. They wanted to help address the problem and made a very generous $350,000 donation. We are also fortunate to have additional community members involved offering their services, free of charge, to demolish the existing bleachers."

Dant Clayton Stadium Seating, who installed the visitors' bleachers in 2014, will construct the new 1,200-seat, 21-row home grandstand along with an expanded 8’x48’ foot press box. Demolition begins in late April with construction targeted for June-July to have the new bleachers ready for the fall 2024 athletic season in August.

The first section will be reserved for the marching band, the two center sections for general seating including a senior citizen area, and the far-end fourth section will become the new student section. Three staircases and one ramp will provide ADA accessibility.  The press box, which measures 8’x48’, will include four rooms for the visiting team coaches, home coaches, filming/press, and public announcing and the scoreboard operators.

"It's important to note that the district is paying for this project out of funds from the permanent improvement levy that residents approved in November 2023," said Superintendent Ben Hegedish. "These PI funds can only be spent on capital improvements, maintenance, and certain long-lasting equipment – not general operations."

Through the donors' generosity, the district will only need to contribute approximately $330,000 from its permanent improvement fund. "This donation is propelling a long overdue upgrade that will provide fantastic new amenities benefiting our students, families, and entire community for many years to come," said Hegedish. "We are extremely grateful."