Updated: December 8, 2012 6:31AM
Construction of a fieldhouse for Homewood-Flossmoor High School is one step closer to reality as the Flossmoor Village Board Monday unanimously approved zoning amendments needed for the project.
The fieldhouse is the major part of a $26 million renovation of the school’s North Building, which also will include a more accessible main entrance, cafeteria improvements and an elevator.
The village’s biggest concern about the project was storm water management.
And, since one corner of the addition will sit in a flood zone, the school will have to provide compensatory storage for potential floodwater, assistant village manager Patrick Finn said.
Project architect Ed Wright told the board that will be solved with a significant expansion to the current detention pond on campus and the addition of a second detention pond at the northwest side of the building.
The high school’s next step is to apply for permits from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Officials want to start site work for the construction yet this month.
The new field house — 110,000 square feet instead of the current 30,000 square feet — will let more student groups practice at the same time, Supt. Von Mansfield said.
“The girls playing softball come in as early as 5 or 6 in the morning,” Mansfield said. “During the winter, students stay as late as 10 p.m.”
With enough space for all sports to meet at once, practice times should be contained to 4 to 7 p.m., Mansfield said. “Hopefully we can get people home a lot earlier.”
The addition will house a 200-meter track, four basketball courts, four volleyball courts, badminton courts, and multi-purpose spaces for activities such as dancing or wrestling, Wright said. Locker rooms, training rooms and coaches offices will be included.
“We have an indoor turf area which would be able to house other activities — track and field, lacrosse, softball, baseball,” he said.
A new entryway will allow secure access to the buildings and ease circulation, both of bodies inside the building and cars outside the building, reducing the backup onto Governors Highway, he said.
“It also addresses ADA issues,” Wright said. “Currently, someone who needs access has to come in through the loading dock area and take an elevator. The new entry will allow them to move up and down throughout the space without having to go through those undesirable locations.”
The cafeteria and gym in the 50-year-old north building also will be upgraded, he said.
The project is being funded with $10 million in existing bonds, $10 million that was saved for the project and about $6 million from a bond sale that will not require a property tax increase because the district has stayed within its deb-service limitations, officials have said.