H-F High School to get new $25M fieldhouse
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com October 9, 2012 4:22PM
The existing fieldhouse at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, 999 Kedzie, in Flossmoor, IL on Tuesday October 9, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
New fieldhouse amenities
The new fieldhouse will include:
More facilities for physical education classes
A longer (from 160 meters to 200) and wider indoor track
A wrestling/multipurpose room
A second-floor fitness room
Four basketball/volleyball courts; 16 badminton courts/tennis courts
Public rest rooms
New team locker rooms
Multiple cages for softball, baseball, golf
A long jump/triple jump/pole vault area
Indoor field for discus and shot put
Improved drainage system to relieve flooding issues
Updated: November 11, 2012 6:19AM
As part of an ongoing effort to update its aging facilities, Homewood-Flossmoor High School soon will tear down its existing fieldhouse and build a much larger venue.
The project — estimated to cost $25 million — will add 100,000 square feet of space for extracurricular programs and community use, and offer a new, more accessible main entrance to the campus’s North Building.
Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School District 233 implemented a strategic facilities plan more than 10 years ago to repair, rebuild and renovate facilities as funding allowed, Supt. Von Mansfield said.
The public will never see some of the work — such as the new pipes in the G Building — but all of it will benefit students and staff for decades to come, officials said. The fieldhouse is the largest project to date.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to provide much-needed improvements to the fieldhouse and entrance,” Mansfield said.
The Flossmoor plan commission recommended the plans for approval, and they were presented Tuesday night in a community meeting at the school. The village board could vote on the project at its Oct. 15 or Nov. 5 meeting.
According to assistant village manager Pat Finn, the plan commission recommended that the school district expand its existing detention pond and build a new one northeast of the new addition and grant an easement for the relocation of water mains and sanitary sewers.
The school board could accept bids at the end of October, and if all goes well, site work could begin in November, with the demolition of the existing fieldhouse taking place in the spring, district spokeswoman Jodi Bryant said.
While the district has renovated parts of the 53-year-old school, the North Building has not been touched in 40 years, school officials said.
The project, expected to be completed in 2014, will create more space for the 35 sports, 75 teams and 90 clubs and activities the school district offers, and make more space available for use by youth sports and the community.
To accommodate all of the school’s athletic teams, some students now begin practice as early as 5 a.m., while others end at 10 p.m. due to limited space, Mansfield said.
The project, which is being funded with $10 million in bonds and $10 million that was saved for the project, will come at no additional cost to taxpayers, because the district has stayed within its debt-service limitations, Mansfield said.
The remaining $5 million could come from the district’s healthy reserve fund or an additional bond sale, Bryant said.
“This is a great time (to build) with the interest rates at 1 and 2 percent,” Mansfield said. “At no time in the future will we see that interest rate.”
“There was so much work to do, it was just better to start over,” Bryant said.
But until the new fieldhouse is completed, gym classes and athletic teams will have to “get creative” in finding places for students to use, she said.
“We’ll make do,” she said.
Depending on the bids, the school district may do additional work, including a face-lift to the cafeteria in the North Building, Bryant said.
Since the district launched its strategic facilities plan in 2001, it has completed $20 million in repairs, including a renovated mall auditorium, new science labs, a working greenhouse and new boilers. The district installed new turf, a track, lights and seating in the stadium, repaved the stadium driveway and student paths, and remodeled the district offices.
It now is putting the finishing touches on the new Viking Broadcast Co., which is being redesigned and refurbished with the latest equipment. The student TV/radio studio will provide “the same state-of-the-art equipment that is used in the actual business,” H-F broadcasting teacher Mark Ciesielski said. “This will get them ready to move into the real world. We hope we can take our program to the next level.”
The 150 students in the classes produce all of the TV and radio programs and do live video streaming of football and basketball games, he said.
In addition to boasting high-definition equipment, the new station features redesigned editing stations, a news desk, green room and studio control room, at a cost of about $1.4 million, Bryant said.
The new station is expected to be open for students in mid-October.