MENNO TO NAME SPORTS COMPLEX AFTER ‘JIMMY’ WOEHL
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
The outdoor athletic facility used by Menno Public School for football and track and field will soon be known by a new name — that of a beloved friend and colleague who died last month at the age of 62.
Meeting in special session Monday, March 29, the Menno School Board of Education unanimously agreed that Jim “Jimmy” Woehl should be recognized and honored by renaming the sports complex located just off Park Street in his honor.
Woehl, the custodian and maintenance worker at Menno Public School for more than 20 years, passed away from cancer on March 15.
Formal action will be taken when the board meets in regular session on Monday, April 12, but the board agreed Monday night that it should be called the “Jim Woehl Athletic Complex,” and that the football field should be named in recognition of Jim’s twin brother, Johnny, who remains on staff as the district’s custodian.
Menno Athletic Director Jacque Liebl endorsed both name changes but said she would talk to the family before deciding on the final named tribute.
“The football field is Johnny’s pride and joy and it would not be what it is without him,” she told the board Monday night, “and we would not have that facility without Jimmy and all the work he did there.
“It’s unfortunate we have to wait until Jimmy passed away to do this,” she continued. “I feel terrible about that, but it is what it is.”
The Erv Ptak Memorial Press Box will remain named as such.
Ervin Ptak was a teacher, coach and administrator at Menno for 35 years and died in 2012 at the age of 73; the Ptak Relays are named after him.
Liebl told the board she hopes there can be a dedication of the newly named athletic complex and football field at the 2021 Erv Ptak Relays on Thursday, April 29.
“I feel like this is the right thing to do,” said Tom Rice, superintendent at Menno. “In the short time I got a chance to know Jim — wow.”
“It’s only right that we do this,” said board member Brent Rames. “I’ve had some thoughts about that ever since his passing.”
The Menno School Board of Education took care of several other items of business at Monday’s meeting, including a consensus not to pursue a cooperative in cross-country with Scotland. School officials declined the request, not because it did not support a partnership with Scotland, because it would push them into Class A.
The board also held a discussion about installing new bleachers in the school’s main gymnasium.
The district has a quote from SAAFE, LLC of Excelsior, Minn. in the amount of $113,810 for materials delivered and installed and another $7,200 for the removal and disposal of the existing bleachers. The quote also includes the add-on of $24,612 to add backs to the seating in the first three rows.
Rice told the board the bleachers are the same ones used at Irene-Wakonda; several board members expressed interest in seeing those bleachers in person before making a decision.
Finally, the board discussed a request from the Doug and Angie Hall family to provide busing to their children. The Halls live in the Scotland School District but open enroll at Menno, where Doug is the head girls basketball coach.
The board appeared open to the idea but agreed that Rice should contact administration at Scotland to make sure that was OK.
The board is expected to revisit both the bleachers and the busing issues at its regular meeting Monday, April 12.