“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Colin Powell

With students not attending school since March due to the pandemic, the HSSD has taken the opportunity to upgrade some facilities as a result of financial planning and generous donations to allow our students to become successful. The Howard-Suamico Education Foundation (HSEF) raised $1,397,526.83 in total and updates were made to areas including the Solutionist Studios, the Bay Port Performing Arts Center, Bay Port baseball and softball varsity diamonds, and the Strength and Conditioning Room at Bay Port.

Solutionist Studios allow elementary students to collaborate and problem-solve as a team given a specific project from their teachers. The studios provide innovation lab space with technological resources, provide a design thinking experience, and allow students to use creativity and aspirations to develop as deep thinkers and doers, not just as test takers. Students will challenge each other with questions such as, “What if…?” and “How might we…?” generating feedback from team members. With donations of $309,000, these Studios provide the students with real life experiences used in the business world.
The Bay Port Performing Arts Center is not only used by the high school students for choral and band concerts, plays, and musicals, but by other schools within the District and local community groups.
Private donations of over $230,000 allowed for an upgrade from the original technology installed in the year 2000, when the school was built. Key upgrades for the PAC include the areas of audio, visual, new lighting, replacement of curtains, additional rigging, wireless intercom improvements, as well as enhancements linked to the band, choir, and orchestra rooms. All performers and audience members will experience a significantly improved atmosphere.

With the unpredictability of Spring weather, the Bay Port baseball and softball fields had new synthetic turf installed to alleviate some problems. Annual maintenance for the grass fields included mowing, pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer, seeding, pre-game chalking, irrigation, and overall field maintenance. By upgrading to a synthetic field, the Howard-Suamico School District will see more than $23,000 in cost savings annually. With private donations of over $66,500 to date, this complex will not only accommodate our Spring sports, but will be used during the summer for American Legion baseball, softball leagues, and summer school sports instruction.

On January 13, 2020, the School Board approved the expansion of the strength and conditioning facility along with the expansion of the adjacent multi-purpose room used primarily by the wrestling program by increasing the space from 3,740 to 16,300 square feet. This project received private donations of $569,000. The facility was equipped with custom strength and conditioning equipment manufactured by Dynamic Fitness and Strength Equipment, located in Eau Claire, WI. In addition to student-athletes, an increase in health and wellness planning will allow physical education classes to use this facility during the day and through summer school opportunities.

The overall cost of these projects totaled $6.9 million. We are grateful to donors who offset the related expenses by 20 percent through their generous contributions. Their gifts, coupled with district resources from assigned designated fund balance, helped to make these projects possible. Individuals interested in contributing donations are encouraged to visit the HSSD website for information on the Howard-Suamico Education Foundation and contact Nicole Smith, Executive Director. For additional information regarding this article, contact HSSD school board member Garry Sievert at garrsiev@hssdschools.org.