How multiphase project will transform Buffalo Grove HS athletic fields

Buffalo Grove High School is planning a three-phased transformation of its athletic fields, starting with a $5 million project this summer that will install a new softball diamond, artificial turf field, tennis courts and concession stand.

The earthwork in the area immediately north of the school building is expected to target flooding issues that have led to canceled baseball games and the team regularly searching for other places to play.

“The drainage of this site just makes it unplayable for quite a bit of the year,” said Andy Phelps, associate principal of STR Partners, the project architect.

Starting in June, work crews will regrade the area to flatten its steep incline, paving the way for the new athletic facilities: a varsity girls’ softball field with dugouts and bleachers; a 100-yard artificial turf field with lights for football, soccer, lacrosse and physical education classes; 10 tennis courts and associated bleachers; and a concession stand building with bathrooms and storage.

A new softball diamond, 100-yard artificial turf field, 10 tennis courts and concession/bathroom building will be built this summer at Buffalo Grove High School. Courtesy of Northwest Suburban High School District 214

“We can see using that (multipurpose field) as our P.E. area for all 2,000 students every single day,” said Principal Jeff Wardle. “Right now it’s almost an unusable space.”

Wardle also envisions the site being used for IHSA regional, sectional and state competitions.

Officials say stormwater will flow to the new synthetic turf field, which will have drains leading to an existing basin under the parking lot.

In phase two of the project during summer 2025, that eastern parking lot will make way for a new varsity baseball field with a restructured drainage basin. A dozen old tennis courts are coming out, and a new parking lot is going in, but the school will lose 60 parking spaces campuswide.

Phase three — scheduled for 2026 or 2027 — calls for new artificial turf and a track in the football stadium, a visitors’ side concession stand and bathrooms, and upgraded entry plaza.

While the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 school board approved bids totaling $5.1 million for the phase one work in December, officials didn’t provide a cost estimate for the rest of the project.

A campus map shows the three phases of athletic field renovations at Buffalo Grove High School. Courtesy of Northwest Suburban High School District 214

They’re now in discussions with village officials, who want the school’s entrance along Dundee Road to be shifted farther east so that it aligns with the Old Arlington Heights Road intersection. That could provide safer access to the school — and the village may be willing to provide tax increment financing dollars to help pay for it — but such a shift also has implications for the on-campus infrastructure.

“The plans that we had for the renovations may need to change in order to accommodate moving the entrance, but by moving the entrance we might get a more safe way to enter, as well as some of those TIF dollars to help with our costs and renovations,” said school board Vice President Millie Palmer. “So we’ll get money and increase safety. I like both of those things.”

Because the varsity baseball field is currently north of the school, the team will be displaced until phase two is complete. But school district officials have had discussions with neighboring park district leaders who could allow games to take place at Heritage Park in Wheeling as well as parks in Buffalo Grove and Arlington Heights.

The first set of fields are expected to be complete by November.

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