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The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

Fieldhouse named after alumnus expands opportunities for athletes

The+Bill+Wiitala+Senator+Alumni+field+house.+The+building+will+offer+a+new+practice+and+storage+space+for+the+athletics+program.
Zay Conant
The Bill Wiitala Senator Alumni field house. The building will offer a new practice and storage space for the athletics program.

This June, ground was broken on the school’s latest project: the Bill Wiitala Senator Alumni fieldhouse, meant to serve as an additional practice facility for the athletics program. The fieldhouse is intended to be finished by the end of October.

“It will provide another surface, another opportunity, for our kids to work out and get athletic instruction,” athletic director Tyler Kelleher stated. 

All sports teams will have access to the fieldhouse. The fieldhouse, which will be completely turfed, will include equipment such as batting cages for softball and baseball and nets for soccer. 

According to principal Adam Skyles, the fieldhouse is meant to expand the number of practice spaces available at the school. For example, in the spring it will mean that only one gym will need to be occupied at a time by the baseball and softball teams when they can’t practice outside because of the rain. 

Having an indoor, multipurpose practice facility also means that more sports teams will be able to hold practices year-round. 

“When you have athletes that can train year-round, and we’ve got additional spaces to train…that’s going to just create more team cohesiveness,” Skyles said. For example, Skyles explained, having the ability for soccer players to practice over the winter will benefit the team.

Senior Paul Oellrich, a member of the baseball team, echoed this, saying that having the option to practice in the winter and fall will “really help [the baseball team] continue to develop over the offseason and be ready for our upcoming season.”

The Madison Alumni Association is responsible for the construction of the fieldhouse, both coming up with the idea and covering it financially. Funding for the project was unable to be covered by the bond that paid for the reconstruction of the school, so the Alumni Association raised the money. 

“[The Alumni Association] wanted to figure out how could they assist the community, and how they could have a positive impact on students in this community,” Skyles said. “The fieldhouse came up as an area because, I think, a lot of those individuals were baseball players.”

The fieldhouse is named after Bill Wiitala, a former coach and athletic director. He graduated from Roosevelt in 1954 and joined the community as a baseball coach from 1963 to 1964. Wiitala led the baseball team to state championships during both years of his coaching tenure. From 1966 to 1988, he served as athletic director. 

“He just made a very positive impact on a lot of athletes and a lot of students at Madison High School for years,” Kellher said. “He made such a difference in so many peoples’ lives that they wanted to honor him by this.”

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Thisbe Delamarter, Online Editor
Thisbe Delamarter (she/her) is a senior who loves reading, learning and soccer. She loves journalism because she enjoys investigating and sharing new perspectives.
Zay Conant, Design Manager
Zay Conant (he/him/they/them) is a junior who loves medical science, is a realism and abstract artist and has two climate justice poems published in a youth anthology. He chose to become a photographer because he wants to explore different art styles and meet new people.

Comments (3)

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  • L

    LaneOct 4, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    What a great news story!! So glad this finally got built.

  • L

    LillySep 28, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    Solid article

  • E

    Eva AndrewsSep 26, 2023 at 9:07 pm

    I’m glad they’re finally building it! Appreciate the coverage by my favorite news source