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Falling concrete, flooded turf, and Bulldogs

Construction to run from March to August

Riverside Brookfield High School
The home bleachers are a large part of the renovations of the athletic complex. The total price of the whole athletic complex will be $3,870,000.

Molly Cunningham, Staff Reporter

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Built in 1959, the RB athletic stadium needs to be replaced. In addition to changing the 55 year old concrete structure, the field turf, track, locker rooms, concession stands,  and tennis courts are going to be replaced.

“We are replacing both the home and away bleachers and  we are going to need to resurface the track,” Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said. “We are going to need to replace the field turf that both soccer and football use and our PE classes use. We are going to be working on improving the drainage and flood control for that facility.”

In the new renovation plans, the locker room will become separate from the bleachers.  As a result, the End Zone Garden, completed in 2013, will have to find a new location either apart of the athletic complex or the school side of the street.

“[Interim Principal Kristin] Smetana is working with some of the building staff to identify a new location for the garden and we aren’t sure if it will be across the street or it will be on this side of campus,” Skinkis said.

Kathleen Harsy, the co-lead caretaker of the garden with the SEE Team said, “If the garden concludes as we know it now, the SEE team will continue to work to support a new location and other opportunities for learning and collaboration will occur in a new spot.”

The tentative plan is for construction to start as early as March 1, hopefully with breaks in the weather during the winter to do demolition, and a completion date of August 1, 2015.

Skinkis said. “The August 1 completion date really cannot be moved because of fall sports and school start in August. This facility has to be ready for soccer, tennis, and football and PE classes. March 1 is wishful thinking. We are hoping for no later than April 1.”

With construction happening during the spring, spring sports such as girls’ soccer, boys’ tennis, track, and Special Olympics track will have to find a new facility to use.

“[Assistant Principal for Athletics Art] Ostrow and his staff have been aware of this since August when we started making final plans and we are working on some alternative venues so they can still have contests close to home but they won’t be able to use the stadium,” Skinkis said.

In addition to changing spring sports, graduation for the class of 2015 will be held an alternative location: the Main Gym.

“We also sent something out in the newsletter that this construction will also impact graduation so graduation this year will most likely be held inside,” Skinkis said.

Applied Arts Teacher Gary Prokes and RBTV will work on having live video footage in the Little Theater and Auditorium of the ceremony.

In addition to the work on the field, the tennis courts will have to be replaced and Skinkis is looking into the parking and traffic problems by adding an additional parking spaces for students.

“We are going to replace the tennis courts with five to six new tennis courts and we are also looking to add hopefully anywhere between 60-80 parking spaces,” he said.

The traffic pattern and traffic has been a hot topic of discussion in the community with many people trying to add their input on the topic. With the additional parking spaces, Skinkis hopes the numbers of cars using the drop off will decrease.

“There is some belief that there will be some relief because there will be less cars trying to  drop  students off and turn around and get back on Washington or First Avenue,” Skinkis said.

Because the new spaces are geared towards students, Skinkis believes this might minimize the traffic impact as well.

Skinkis added, “We’re only really talking about the addition of 60 to 80 cars and those will most likely be student parking spaces and our hopes are that the majority of students who  drive participate in extracurricular activities or athletics and a lot of student won’t be leaving at same time as dismissal.”

With the $8.9 million dollar grant RB received from the state last year, the focus has been placed on the athletic complex instead of internal improvements because the complex has been deemed unsafe.

“The stadium complex is becoming front and center because the tennis courts are at a point becoming unplayable. The bleachers and the locker room are at point of being unusable,” Skinkis said.

Internal improvements to occur over a ten year period include roofing starting with a half million dollar roof renovation. Additionally, improvements with flood control, the Main Gym, and the roofing project should occur within the next couple of years. All the improvements the school is going to complete can be found in the facilities assessment located on the RB website. Skinkis noted that the majority of the internal improvements already occurred with the $68 million dollar 2006 renovation.

In the next couple of months, the Board of Education will be making decisions regarding the proposed plans and construction will start soon after.

Skinkis said, “ The Board will be making some decisions on final designs and concepts so that we’re going to try to do the best we can in the most cost efficient way so that it’s sustainable and maintainable for a long time so that the community and students can use it for many years to come.”

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Falling concrete, flooded turf, and Bulldogs