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Compromise has Superior fields back on track

Despite a minor hiccup, the new athletic complex at Superior High School remains on schedule for a late-August grand opening.

A letter to the Superior School Board in June from the parent of a softball player raised the issue of Title IX compliance, according to a story on the Superior Telegram website. The parent’s concern was the absence of a softball field at the National Bank of Commerce Spartan Sports Complex, which will include artificial turf football /    soccer and baseball fields.

The solution was to add temporary fencing, plus a removable pitching mound and removable bases to the baseball field so it also can host softball games if inclement weather renders the Spartans’ current home softball venue at Superior Middle School unplayable.

That decision triggered a second letter to the school district, from Sue and Mark O’Neill, according to the Telegram. They said the plan would give the softball team two-and-a-half district fields to use — there are two at the middle school — while the baseball team would have only half a field to call its own.

Nearing the end of a long and laborious process to upgrade the district’s athletic facilities, Superior athletic director Ray Kosey said he doesn’t consider the recent rumblings to be a setback.

“I’m not frustrated; I’m happy that our district is finally looking at doing things for our facilities,” Kosey said Tuesday evening. “We want to get input from everybody. We want to do what’s best for all our programs.”

No Title IX complaints were lodged against the school, Kosey said.

After working with an ad-hoc group that included baseball and softball representation, Kosey’s recommendation to the school board’s committee of the whole meeting Monday was to ensure the baseball field is capable of hosting softball, if necessary. The expectation remains, though, for the field to be primarily for baseball.

Superior baseball coach Don Dembroski and softball coach Amy Zembo are on the ad-hoc committee. Both approve of the current plan, Kosey said.

There are discussions of improving the softball fields.

“We’re looking at the possibility of some short-term and long-term upgrades to our softball facilities,” Kosey said.

Kosey stressed patience while hailing the momentum the new sports complex has generated, a sort of one-project-at-a-time mantra. Progress continues to hum along at the facility, with the turf for the football/soccer field slated to go in July 23.

Just more than a month later, on Aug. 29, Superior will host a boys soccer and football doubleheader to formally open the roughly $4 million project.

As Kosey navigates the current dust-up, he said little has changed from the original plans. The removable mound — which will feel authentic with a clay insert — and bases actually could be a blessing as it transforms the baseball field into a true multi-use venue. He said not only will softball benefit, but so too will other groups, from phy-ed classes to soccer teams looking for some turf real estate.

“We just want to make sure we have the capacity to have it used” for different sports, superintendent Janna Stevens told the Telegram.