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Washington High School debuts $2.5 million track and field at ribbon cutting

Field Ribbon Cutting - Washington HS - athletesThe new $2.5 million track and athletic field at Washington High School of Information Technology was unveiled at a ribbon cutting Friday, May 26, 2023. The track and field will benefit athletes at Washington High School as well as neighborhood residents who enjoy walking on the track. The track and other facilities are expected to be fully open to the community around June 8, depending on weather. 

About 100 people attended the ribbon cutting, including MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley, Director Aisha Carr of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, Executive Director Tiffany Tardy of the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, Commissioner Lafayette Crump of the Milwaukee Department of City Development, Common Ground board member Alexander Hardy, and Executive Director Theodore Lipscomb Sr. of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). 

Many of the attendees, including the 5 O’Clock Club of neighborhood walkers, took a lap around the track after the ceremony. 

“This is an important contribution to Washington High School and to the community at large,” Washington Principal Angelena Terry commented. “Students will gain from this beautiful new track and field now and for decades to come. Not only that, our Sherman Park neighbors embraced the project, and they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, as well.” 

Ribbon cutting marks completion of construction The yearlong project to rebuild the track and field includes a new 400-meter track that will be topped with a high-performance rubber surface, an improved practice field for football with artificial turf, new basketball half-courts, and new drinking fountains. 

Also, the masonry at the field’s wrought-iron gate, thought to be more than 100 years old, was repaired, the parking lot was repaved, and grass seed and other plantings around the site were added. 

The project is the result of a public-private partnership that involved MPS, the MPS Foundation and the nonprofit group Common Ground, plus the contributions of other generous donors. Over the course of seven years, Common Ground raised $830,300 — a third of the total cost of the project — from 144 donors for the new athletic field. 

“Common Ground was proud to be an instrumental player in Washington High School’s new athletic field,” said Alexander Hardy, who is a member of the board of directors of Common Ground, a 35-year neighborhood resident, and a member of Community Baptist Church, which was involved in the project. “We were pleased to lead the community-level engagement that brought this project to completion. It will benefit the entire neighborhood.” 

Ribbon cutting marks completion of construction Washington High School opened in 1916 in the Sherman Park neighborhood, which was then considered Milwaukee’s northwest side, before the city limits grew. The contract for the athletic field was awarded in 1918, and track meets were held there by 1919. 

Although the field has always been used for football practice only and not for games, at least five Washington alumni went on to careers in professional football from the 1920s to the 1950s: Marlin “Pat” Harder, Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions; Wally Cruice, a Green Bay Packers draft pick who didn’t sign with them but later became their chief scout; Lavvie Dilweg, Green Bay Packers (later a U.S. congressman from Milwaukee); Milt Trost, Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles; and Don Kindt, Chicago Bears.  

A Washington High coach, Lisle Blackbourn, went on to coach the Packers in the mid-1950s. 

Milwaukee Public Schools is grateful to the many generous donors who made this athletics project possible, including: 

  • Center Street Marketplace BID 39 

  • Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee 

  • Educators Credit Union 

  • Fox River Congregational Church 

  • Fund for Lake Michigan 

  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation 

  • Herb Kohl Philanthropies 

  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District 

  • Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation 

  • National Football League Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Grassroots Field Grant  

  • Parallel Employment Group 

  • Sherman Park Neighborhood Improvement District 4 

  • United Milwaukee Scrap LLC 

  • Washington High School Alumni Scholarship Foundation 

Washington High School is located at 2525 N. Sherman Blvd., Milwaukee, 53210. 


Stephen Davis, Media Relations Manager
(414) 475-8675
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