2 athletic plans on Batavia school board's mind

 
 
Updated 9/22/2014 7:46 PM
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  • Replacing the home bleachers with larger ones and adding a new press box are part of one option the Batavia school board is considering for money it might borrow if voters approve.

      Replacing the home bleachers with larger ones and adding a new press box are part of one option the Batavia school board is considering for money it might borrow if voters approve. Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

The Batavia school board is considering two options for renovations to Batavia High School's athletic fields as a referendum about borrowing $15 million for capital work approaches.

The board will discuss the options at a finance committee meeting at noon Tuesday and choose one at the 7 p.m. board meeting. The meetings are at district headquarters, 335 W. Wilson St. Agenda packets for both meetings are available on the BoardBooks portion of the district website.

The discussion will help the board let voters know exactly on what it intends to spend the referendum money. So far, plans have called for spending about half the referendum money at the high school and the rest at other schools.

Option 1 was discussed previously: doing all the projects on the north half of the site, identified in a $15 million plan the board approved in 2013.

This includes adding artificial turf to the stadium, building a new press box and larger home bleachers, installing an eight-lane track, moving the track field-event areas, enlarging the concession building, building a parking lot, replacing lights at the tennis courts, putting in a three-bay maintenance garage, and major improvements to the varsity softball and baseball fields. The main maintenance operation would be moved off-site.

The district estimates this would cost $6.7 million.

Option 2 would do work first that would enable the school to have all practices and games at the high school. Currently, some teams practice at other sites, including Rotolo Middle School.

Artificial turf would be put in the stadium, but the replacement track would only be seven lanes. The field-event areas would still be moved. A second artificial turf field would be added. Some improvements would be made to the junior varsity and varsity softball fields, and the junior varsity baseball field. The work is estimated at $7.66 million.

Option 2 would also leave the school's arboretum intact. The master plan for the fields called for removing the arboretum. Many of the trees are memorial dedications dating back to when the school was built in the 1960s, and some residents disapprove of cutting them down. The district has said it would plant new trees elsewhere on campus and re-dedicate them.

The district is asking voters for permission to borrow $15 million for repairs, renovation and construction throughout the district. It would borrow money to do so but would not issue bonds mandated to be repaid with property taxes levied specifically for debt.

Instead, district officials say the loan would be repaid out of operating funds, which are primarily supported by property taxes levied for operations. Officials anticipate repaying the loan over 20 years, at $1.5 million a year.

In other business

The board will also vote on whether to lease a Vandee Manufacturing building, at 804 Main St., to become the new home of the district's maintenance facility.

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