Bartlett High School has kicked off a $4.5 million fundraising campaign for an activities complex so that the school would no longer have to share facilities with Streamwood High School.
At the suggestion of students, the campaign was launched with a video "Bartlett High School Needs a Home (Field)" that is on the YouTube link at the top of the Elgin Area School District U-46 website home page, u-46.org.
In the 11-minute video which was made earlier this year, hundreds of students line the hallways, singing and dancing to highlight student activities that would benefit from an activities complex.
Currently, Bartlett High School competes at Millennium Field at Streamwood High School. Students have been sharing an athletic complex since B.H.S. opened in 1997. The Bartlett H.S. project would include a new synthetic turf field, running track, home and visitor bleachers, a scoreboard, lighting and concession stand.
But the fundraising drive faces an uphill battle. Because the school is only 16 years old, there's not a huge alumni base to draw on. "That's certainly one of the topics we talk about," said the school's principal Suzanne Colombe.
"We all hope it's a realistic goal. For the community, it would be a huge positive. If we don't ever work for it, we'll never get it," she said.
The B.H.S. General Boosters, which has about 200 members, is working with U-46 to build community support for the project, which would benefit more than 30 school teams and organizations.
The goal is also to support area park district programs, various youth leagues and community events. The venue would also be available for corporations to host events.
"We would like to be able to host Club Lacrosse, Relay For Life, March of Dimes events, and various camps including football, soccer, track and field, and cheer," Colombe said. "However, as we share the facility, the scheduling is very difficult."
The Bartlett Activity Complex Committee was established in 2008. It's made up of General Booster members, future parents of B.H.S. students and community members. Initial planning started with a Field Feasibility Study to make sure the current plot of land could support the project.
"The longer it takes to raise the funds, the more money it will take," Colombe said. "If we were able to raise $4.5 million this year, we could come close to building the entire project."
If the project is built in phases and completed in 2018, it could cost up to $7.2 million.
School officials hope the funds will be provided by private donors and corporate sponsors. So far, $40,000 has been donated by graduating classes and through small community fundraisers as seed money to get the fundraising campaign off the ground. If the school is able to raise, $1 million, it could start construction on the first phase of the project.
The committee also is working to submit grant applications to gain funding.
A donation pledge form is posted on the school's website at u-46.org/bhs.