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H-F committee gives OK for lights at softball field, reviews other improvements

The District 233 Finance Committee is recommending lights be added to the softball field at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, the first in a list of physical plant updates estimated between $3.52 and $3.62 million.

The proposal for the lights will be presented to the full school board at its rescheduled meeting set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23, at the high school.

During a committee meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17, members heard a report from Ed Wright of DLA Architects who gave an estimate of $220,000 to $240,000 for lights and power distribution. If the board accepts the recommendation, Wright said he would start the process by calling for soil borings and the start of construction documents. He estimated the work would be completed by early December.

The Finance Committee said it would be able to finance this project from the current budget.


Wright outlined a number of other improvements for baseball and softball fields, including synthetic turf with prices ranging from $1.5 million for softball up to $2.3 million for baseball. If the areas are reduced to just the infield, the price comes down considerably to a high of $300,000 for softball and $450,000 for baseball. The proposal also includes new scoreboards and LED lighting at each field, and a new dugout and press box, new piers and fencing and new backstop netting at the baseball field. The total for the improvements was estimated at $2.1 million.

Wright went through a list of other projects that he recommended for the recurring maintenance list, including roof replacements and updating athletic fields. H-F goes through a Life Safety review every 10 years. As part of that review, Wright suggested the board look at several roof replacements, as well as doors, mechanical and plumbing updates for a total of $2.62 million.

He said H-F has been good about putting roof work on a rotating basis, and he recommended several areas “because they’re starting to come on our radar.” Roofs can be expensive and finance committee members agreed they should be in a work schedule so the costs are spread out over a number of years.

Wright said the one item he would recommend the board do within the next year is an acrylic recoating for the roof over the natatorium estimated at $396,000. The pool area was completely remodeled and updated for $3.6 million in 2018  to meet Life Safety guidelines. Wright said he brought this recommendation forward to make certain the roof doesn’t develop any problems that could impact that work.

Athletic areas also need attention. Wright said the North Stadium synthetic field and indoor turf in the fieldhouse are reaching their life expectancy. Compared to the outdoor turf, the indoor turf has a shorter life expectancy by three years. Wright suggested the board set a timeframe for replacing the turf, because it will involve considerable scheduling to get the work done between sports seasons.

The indoor track in the fieldhouse needs to be resurfaced in the next one to three years at an estimated cost of between $100,000 to $125,000, and the north tennis courts have had some repairs, but they will need to be replaced in the next few years, Wright said, at an estimated $175,000 to $250,000.

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