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July 21, 2019

7/11/2019 7:29:00 AM
Haug family donates $250,000 toward dome project
River News Staff

The Hodag Schools Foundation (HSF) has announced another major donation to be put toward the School District of Rhinelander's planned construction of an athletic multi-purpose complex.

The Tony and Lori Haug family of Rhinelander has pledged to donate $250,000 over several years, HSF president David Heck announced in a press release Wednesday morning.

"The Haug family, who has lived in Rhinelander for 21 years, is pleased to further invest in the Rhinelander school district," the release states.

Lori Haug noted, "We are thankful for our three children's educational experience and have been blessed with wonderful friends, educators and coaches who have inspired our children. We have always believed that Rhinelander needs to move forward to keep pace and stay attractive to the labor force and professionals. And improvements to the school facilities can help make this happen."

The school board voted last month to spend up to $5.7 million, on top of $1.2 million in private donations, to build an air-supported dome for indoor practices, competitions and other community uses.

The project was jump-started by a $500,000 donation from Dr. Lee Swank and family earlier this year.

The Haug family has supported the Rhinelander community for many years, the HSF press release notes.

"Tony, the recently retired President of ABX, successfully led that manufacturing company, creating over 60 jobs," the release states. "Lori served on the Rhinelander Schools Education Foundation and Hodag Schools Foundation Board of Directors for many years and volunteered at numerous community events. Tony and Lori raised three children who attended public schools, all graduating from Rhinelander High School. Each played spring and fall sports but struggled with weather issues during those seasons."

Tony Haug stated, "We always believed that it was important to keep our children engaged in extracurricular activities, as it lends itself to higher educational achievement. Moreover, the indoor dome will help provide exercise opportunities for our community, which we believe leads to a healthier environment." He further commented, "We are so thankful for all of the hard work that our employees at ABX contributed to our company, and are so excited and look forward to giving back to their families and their young children who will grow up in the District and benefit from these improvements. Our manufacturing based community needs a strong labor force and good health care for our young families. Rhinelander needs to attract young families to continue to sustain a vibrant community. In addition, we need to attract physicians and other professionals that want to come and remain here in Rhinelander. We believe that the entire community will benefit from the indoor and outdoor improvements for exercise potential due to our short summer season."

This impact to the overall community was a key contributor in the Haug family's decision to provide the substantial donation, the release explains.

"We are so thankful that our school board has been fiscally responsible over the years and also has identified this facility as a need in our community," Lori stated. "They should be applauded for supporting this collaboration, made possible by Dr. Swank's initial donation, and the tireless efforts of HSF. It is important to take pride in our schools and facilities and create a positive impression for those touring our area for potential employment. In addition, we believe that this investment will allow our school district to host many tournaments and trade shows that will financially benefit the community as well as the District. All of our children are so excited that we have decided to contribute to the future Hodags and their new indoor facility. The upgrading of the outdoor softball fields, which needed improvement for many years, is also very important to us."

Mike Roberts, a member of Rhinelander school board and Hodag Schools Foundation, thanked the Haugs for their pledge.

"The Haug family recognizes the importance of how improved facilities can benefit the entire community. The School District and HSF is very thankful to all donors," he said.

Heck echoed the sentiment.

"HSF sincerely appreciates the Haug donation and how it can improve the physical and mental health of our community, senior citizens, as well as keep and attract families," he said. "The improvements in these Rhinelander facilities will change Rhinelander, benefitting students, the community, businesses, and completely differentiating Rhinelander from its neighbors. We are still in process of raising money for these improvements and appreciate the community and alumni support."

The Hodag Schools Foundation is a volunteer-run, non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to providing financial support for quality programs and facilities benefiting students and promoting excellence in the School District of Rhinelander and the entire community, the release states. HSF envisions innovative programming and strong, safe facilities, which meet the long-term needs of the School District of Rhinelander and the community. HSF supports the well-being of youth and adults alike, strengthening ties to Hodag alumni and providing opportunities comparable to other communities. Over the last 16 years, HSF has raised and pledged over $3 million dollars to benefit the school district, expanded our mission and stayed true to our goals of developing objectives that maintain the primary focus on the needs of the students and keep our vision on the future, the release states.

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