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Grand opening celebration set for new Schmeeckle Reserve amphitheater

By Portage County Business Council

Join in celebrating a new outdoor amphitheater at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Schmeeckle Reserve on Friday, Sept. 13.

The grand opening celebration for the Pankowski Friends Amphitheater will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour and reception at the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center, 2419 North Point Drive, Stevens Point. The program will be at 6 p.m. at the amphitheater, with live music at 6:30 p.m. by UW-Stevens Point alumnus Adam Greuel of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Art Stevenson of High Wate

Jim Buchholz, Schmeeckle Reserve director, is excited to see the project come to fruition. “The amphitheater has been a dream of ours for many years,” he said. “It is an ideal space to present educational programs and special events, like our popular fall and spring Candlelight Hike Festivals.”r, Matt Williams of Steez and Dan Alfuth, Frank Stanislawski and Jeff Ebel of Gray Catz. Children’s activities also will be offered.

The amphitheater is the first capital improvement project of the Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve, a community group that supports the reserve and its educational mission. Jerry Lineberger, Friends president, said community support was strong for the amphitheater.

“We thank all of the donors for their generosity and support and look forward to using the amphitheater for community gatherings in the years to come,” he said.

The Pankowski Friends Amphitheater seats up to 250 people. The $270,000 project was funded with initial gifts from Dallas and Edith Pankowski and the Sentry Insurance Foundation. Additional public donations and grants came from the Community Parks Improvement Committee, Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin, Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Tourism Development, Aldo Leopold Audubon Society and Wisconsin Public Service Foundation, plus nearly 100 individual donors.

Construction and design was completed by the Rettler Corporation and Ellis Construction, both of Stevens Point; and Alliance Architects, Minneapolis.

Located on the north end of the UW-Stevens Point campus, Schmeeckle Reserve is a 280-acre conservancy area with five miles of accessible trails and boardwalks, a 24-acre lake and a visitor center with hands-on exhibits, gift shop and the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. For more information, call 715-346-4992, go to or on Facebook @schmeecklereserve.