By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 30, 2023 at 10:25 AM

Milwaukee Public Schools and Common Ground cut the ribbon on the new $2.5 million track and athletic field at Washington High School of Information Technology, 2525 N. Sherman Blvd., on Friday.


About 100 people attending the unveiling of the new field, which is expected to be fully open on June 8.

The revamped facility now has a new 400-meter track with a high-performance rubber surface, an improved artificial turf football practice field, new basketball half-courts and new drinking fountains (that's bubblers to you).

The parking lot was repaved, grassy areas were reseeded, plants were added and the wrought-iron gate, believed to be more than 100 years old, was repaired.

Washington High School opened in 1916 and the track followed three years later.

The project was funded via a partnership between MPS, the MPS Foundation and the nonprofit group Common Ground, and received private donations, too.

In seven years of fundraising for the year-long project, Common Ground raised $830,300 from 144 donors.

“This is an important contribution to Washington High School and to the community at large,” said Washington Principal Angelena Terry.

“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.”

The field has always been a practice facility. Among the alumni who used it are future pro footballers Marlin “Pat” Harder (Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions), Lavvie Dilweg (Green Bay Packers, and U.S. congressman), Milt Trost (Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles) and Don Kindt (Chicago Bears).

Washington High coach Lisle Blackbourn later coached the Packers.

“Common Ground was proud to be an instrumental player in Washington High School’s new athletic field,” said Common Ground board member Alexander Hardy.

“We were pleased to lead the community-level engagement that brought this project to completion. It will benefit the entire neighborhood.”

MPS' South Stadium, used by multiple schools, was rebuilt in 2015; a new Vincent Stadium was built in 2018 on the far northwest side; and work has begun on upgraded athletic facilties at Reagan High on the far South Side.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.