Round Lake Dist. 116 to explore improving athletic facilities

 
 
Updated 3/12/2018 8:31 PM
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  • Round Lake High School football players might be using upgraded athletic facilities next school year.

      Round Lake High School football players might be using upgraded athletic facilities next school year. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2017

The Round Lake High School football stadium, running track and practice fields are among seven athletic facilities that Round Lake Area Unit District 116 officials say are most in need of repairs and improvements.

Executive Director of Operations Sheila Duhon and Athletic Director Mike Mizwicki told the school board Monday that other facilities in urgent need of work are the soccer field at Magee Middle School, the playground at Ellis Elementary, and the trainers room and weight room at Round Lake High.

"We've moved forward into the 21st century in a lot of our academic spaces, but the same isn't true for a lot of our athletic spaces," Duhon said. "We're trying to go from good to great."

Nine other facilities, including Round Lake High's fields for baseball and softball and its tennis courts also need work but were given a lower priority.

Duhon and Mizwicki estimate it will cost $3 million to $5 million to renovate all 16 athletic spaces identified in the report.

Duhon said she doesn't expect all of the work to be done right away but officials would like to start work this summer. She said the district has taken the first step by beginning its search for a new architect to lead the way.

"We have one chance to get this right, and we don't want to be in a rush," she said.

District spokeswoman Heather Bennett said the last architect the district used recently closed its Illinois office.

Earlier this year, the district learned it will receive around $5 million from the state's new "Evidence-Based Funding" model that lawmakers approved in August. The new model fundamentally changes how state money is distributed to schools. Because District 116's 2017-18 budget is balanced, school board President Kevin Daniels said last month officials want to spend the extra $5 million on one-time expenses they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.

Duhon said she doesn't expect the projects to be fully funded by the new state money.

It will be up to the school board to decide this spring how much it wants to spend on the athletic facilities. The district anticipates learning in the coming weeks exactly how much money the state will provide and when it will arrive.

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