Homewood-Flossmoor High School is planning to tear down its old field house and build a new 100,000-square foot facility at an estimated cost of $26 million in its place, according to a Sun-Times Media report.
The project is expected to be finished by 2014 and is meant to create more space for all of the school's 75 sports teams and more than 90 student activities, according to an emailed statement from Jodi Bryant, the district's director of human resources and public relations. Foundation work is planned to begin in November, and major work on the field house is slated for late spring, when sports and physical education classes move outside, according to the statement. The focus over the summer will be completing the main building elements of the project, including a new and more accessible entrance to the North Building, in time for students to return next fall.
Some of the amenities of the new field house will include a 200 meter track, four basketball courts, four volleyball courts, 16 badminton and tennis courts, classrooms, meeting rooms, team locker rooms, spectator bleachers, and accessibility enhancements including a new elevator. The statement also notes that the cafeteria and other areas will see "much needed improvements" and that the new facility is being designed to comply with LEED standards for energy and resource efficiency.
As for how the project will be paid for, the district's statement indicates that now is the most cost-effective time to begin construction without costing taxpayers any more: "This project is taking advantage of historically low financing rates that may never be seen again, in addition the project will be completed within our debt service and with no increase to the taxpayers' yearly tax bill."
There will be a page on the school's website sometime in November to provide more information about the project.
We asked H-F Patch readers on Facebook what they thought of the plans. Here's what some of them had to say:
- Karen McHugh - "My main concern is how this will affect the student in the North building. My daughter is in the building for the majority of her day. I know construction companies take precautions as far as dust and stuff...but what about the noise factor?"
- Fay Booker - "The field house is old and needs refurbishing. This proposed structure is simply excessive. And guess what, the HF Board doesn't have to go to the voters for approval...."
- Caryn Caperelli Smith - "My kids are in sports and they are excited about the new fieldhouse, good for them!"
- Ashley Chapman - "I think it's great! A lot more opportunities for the kids and great exposure to HF. It can hold a lot of meets and other physical activities. Also a great space to be utilized for community functions!"
- Ted Peters - "This fieldhouse is very nice and spacious. Improvements could be made at a fraction. A complete tear -down and reconstruction is not needed."
- Matty Jiles - "Another field house? I feel like they could work on fixing up some computer labs first"
We also received this comment in an email from reader Jennifer Molski:
"Most college teams don't even have facilities this fancy. And how about directing the monies instead to computers for students, trade schools, etc. (especially in this economy!!!) I heard that part of the funding would come from $10 million in bonds which if I am not mistaken is the eventual burden of taxpayers."