By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Those driving down Main Street past Dean Nelson Field are likely to notice a new building near the visitors’ entrance.
That is the new visitors’ concession stand, a combined project for the Monticello Athletic Booster Club and the Monticello Community School District.
It is another of the projects for which the Boosters contribute thousands of dollars annually.
“We do spend a lot of money, but we raise a lot of money,” club president Joe Oswald said.
The funds are raised in two ways: through sales at concession stands at Monticello sporting events and other activities, and through sponsorships.
The Boosters contributed $15,000 of the $27,000 cost of the new concession stand, which will also be used in part for school storage.
That isn’t the only expenditure on the Boosters’ list within the past year; it’s only the latest one.
The club has also purchased:
• A high jump pit.
• Bats for the baseball team.
• Cancer awareness uniforms for the boys basketball team.
• A new timing system for the cross country teams.
• An upgrade of the P.A. system at Dean Nelson Field, installed by REM Electric.
• New girls basketball uniforms.
“That’s the reason we raise it, to try and keep our kids looking good, and help to keep them motivated to stay involved,” Oswald said.
In addition, the Boosters are working in conjunction with others on other projects:
• The weight room project at the high school, with the school district and the Monticello School Foundation.
• A new softball dressing room, with Bud Johnson, and contractor Randy Steiner. The room includes an air conditioner installed by Ted Kraus.
There are always more on the horizon. The football team will have new uniforms when it takes the field this fall. But the biggest upcoming project involves the Monticello Athletic Complex.
“We’re in the process of getting bids for the press box/storage room/dressing room for the baseball team,” Oswald said. “Our hope is to have that project started and finished before baseball season starts.
“They need a little bit of storage for rakes and what-have-you for the diamond. Our hope is to match at least a portion of that (building) with the stone that is on the dugouts. My opinion is, it would be nice if we could stone the whole thing, but we’ll have to see what the funds are.”
This is Oswald’s second time around as club president. Lisa Lubben is serving as this year’s vice president, Alison Bergman is the secretary, Chris Lux the treasurer, and LeAnn Herman is past president.
In all, the club has 26 members.
“There are several people who have been on there for multiple years,” Oswald said. “It’s a very good group. We try to make the job fun. And the community is very supportive of the booster club.”
A key player in the club’s projects is Don Peters, the concessions coordinator.
“He does all the ordering and the stocking of the food for the concession stand, which is huge,” Oswald said. “He does a lot of work.”
Also, Oswald is quick to spotlight the contributions Bud Johnson has made through his work and financial assistance to the district’s athletic programs.
“He’s been great for the community,” Oswald said. “It’s just unreal what he’s done for the softball program, and other programs as well.”
Meanwhile, visiting teams will enjoy the new concession stand, for which M&S was the contractor, Andy’s Electric did the wiring, and Next Generation took care of the plumbing needs.
PHOTO: The new visitors’ concession stand at Dean Nelson Field, one of the projects supported by the Monticello Athletic Booster Club. (Photo by Pete Temple)