Recently, the City of Morden gifted Western School Division (WSD) with 2.6 acres of land next to the new school site, west of Morden, on Parkhill Drive. This gift was a partnership between the city and school division to build a full-sized soccer field and eight lane running track.
WSD Trustee David Guenther, who sits on the Facilities Development Committee (FDC), said fundraising has begun.
"If the desire of our community is to have a full-sized rubberized track, and an astroturf or a well-groomed soccer field, then we have to have the ability to come together and make it a reality. Having this project in the same portfolio as the new school, and being quoted at the same time, gives it a cost-effective advantage to do right now. We can always look at completing this project sometime in the future, if there isn't that desire now, but if we can get a few commitments, now, from the community and businesses to say, 'Yes, let's build something first in our area, and get a tax receipt for it,' we as the school board also say, 'Yes.'"
WSD Trustee and FDC member Darcy Wolfe explained the importance of the project.
"This project is something the community has needed for a long time. A new track and quality soccer fields have been talked about for years. It's important for growing communities like Morden to offer a diverse range of quality sport and recreation activities in order to keep positive momentum going. When people are deciding on where to settle down, where they would like to take a job or raise a family, they look around, and they see what it has to offer. This project will make Morden a more attractive and a healthier place to live and work."
"Activities like soccer and track help foster a connection and sense of belonging, especially for newcomer students," Wolfe continued, noting familiar, affordable and accessible activities help them integrate and build new friendships in their new country.
He explained why it's a priority to build a full-sized soccer field and running track, with up to eight lanes.
"The only running track in Morden is at the high school. It has a limestone surface, and for some reason, was built to be less than the regulation 400 meters long. Any athlete that lives in Morden needs to drive to Winkler or Carman if they want to train or compete on a regulation track. This project is Morden's opportunity to build a quality modern running track that will allow local athletes to train and compete at home. And if you want to know how much Morden needs new, well designed and full-size soccer field, all you need to do is ask any soccer parent. Perhaps this new field could attract some of the tournaments that now need to be played in other communities."
Guenther agreed, remarking for several years at Student Leadership Forums, where trustees take time to listen to student voices, they have heard multiple times the need for facilities that meet their needs, and prepare them for their interests and their passions. He considers it an honour to be part of partnering with the community to meet their needs, and to give them what they are asking for.
"If we do get a few larger commitments, either over time like a pledge of five years, we can move forward with this project as early as February, and then we can open up to community members at large to get involved, as well, and have something to track the progress, the support of the funding, and then we get to see something really special come together. So, we'd love to see some philanthropists, or some businesses come together, and join in on the groundbreaking project now."
To learn more, or to support this project, contact David Guenther at email@example.com, Darcy Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at the Western School Division Office.