Artificial turf, more fields proposed for Batavia High

The Bulldogs varsity football and soccer teams could one day play on artificial turf at home, under a plan presented Tuesday night for revamping Batavia High School's athletics fields.

And it calls for holding all practices and games on the high school campus, instead of spreading some out to elementary schools and the middle school, or getting land from Mooseheart, as was once proposed.

School district officials stressed, however, that the plan — roughly estimated at a cost of $13 million — is in its initial stages.

A committee of officials, representatives from teams, coaches, teachers, the Music Buffs and Bulldog Boosters support clubs have been working on a vision for about a year, according to Pat Browne, the district's buildings and grounds director.

“We have made a tough decision that we are going to stay within the footprint of the current Batavia High School campus,” Browne told the board.

Talk of an off-site facility led to delays on some repairs, he said, and Superintendent Jack Barshinger said it also led to the district putting off some donors who wanted to give money for some repairs and improvements.

More use

Browne said putting artificial turf on the stadium field would allow more use of the field for practices and games.

“We are very strict about who and when people are allowed in the stadium itself,” he said, so the field can recover after games. An eighth lane would be added to its track, and a bigger home-team grandstand installed, meaning the school could stop renting supplemental bleachers. The plan also proposes demolishing the district maintenance building to make room for more parking.

It calls for an artificial-turf field southeast of the stadium, where a detention pond is, to be used for lower-level football, plus soccer and lacrosse teams and marching band practice. The stormwater detention could be put underground, he said.

He outlined repairs and improvements to baseball and softball fields.

Adios, arboretum?

To do this, the committee proposes eliminating an arboretum that has been on the southwest corner of the school grounds since it opened in the mid-1960s.

There are about 50 trees remaining, Browne estimated. Many have dedication plaques at them, dated in the late 1960s.

“It was a meaningful area for people at that time,” Browne said. The committee proposes cutting the trees down, and scattering new plantings around the campus, with new plaques.

How to pay for any of the work, and a construction timeline, haven't been determined.

If the board adopts the recommendation, the work would be fit in to the district's capital improvement plan, competing with items such as roof repairs, lighting replacement, parking lot reconstruction and boiler replacements.

LAURA STOECKER/, 2009Batavia High School’s Sean Tews takes to the field for a 2009 home game. A plan has been outlined for improving the athletics fields at Batavia High School, including installing artificial turf.
  A heavy rain starts to fall as St. Charles East’s Kevin Heinrich dribbles the ball through the midfield during a 2011 game at Batavia High School. A proposal to install artificial turf has been made. Rick West/, 2011
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.