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H-F High School Plans New $26M Field House

Homewood-Flossmoor High School is planning to replace its old field house with a new, 100,000-square foot, $26 million facility. How do you think these plans will affect students and families in the community?

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."

Wendell Mosby October 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM
The lack of civic engagement is not limited to HF, we usually have about 3 taxpayers at our PSC meeting and we impact over 15 communities. Anyone interested in running for the HF Board and need some pointers, don't hesitate to contact me.
Juvenal October 29, 2012 at 05:56 PM
So if the HF Board avoids the spirit of the referendum law by quietly overtaxing us for years and building up an 8 figure surplus, that's OK? I just looked at my last HF Viking Connection newsletter (Vol 31, Fall 2012) and the way Von buries his lede and dances around the costs of the "rebuilding" and "expan[sion] of "the H-F Fieldhouse" (listing it last of 10 projects listed, and making it sound more like a kitchen addition than a project comparable to the cost of some skyscrapers) is pathetic. Throwing money at infrastructure cannot reverse decline, and when that money comes from a mobile and already overtaxed populace in the first place those expensive bureaucrat playthings end up driving more people away from the community than they attract. Not sure any community I want to live in needs MORE basketball courts... "The whole idea of saving declining cities by building more is a mistake, since the hallmark of declining cities is that they have plenty of infrastructure relative to people. Detroit’s houses sell for a fraction of the costs of building anything new. The monorail glides over essentially empty streets. Indeed, there is surely more wisdom in Mayor Bing’s plan to shrink the city’s footprint than in the light rail system simultaneously being planned for Detroit." http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/shrinking-detroit-back-to-greatness/
Don Mastery October 31, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Is this really about HF investing too much in sports? From what I remember, HF recently renovated the music wing. Oh yeah, and a couple years ago they added science labs and a state of the art, environmentally friendly, green house and plants & animals classroom. A few years before that it was a new auditorium and drama/theatre area. And, right now they're completing a new television studio in the communications wing. These are the MANY reasons H-F is such a great school. Say what you may, our kids still get a top notch, well-rounded education and we're lucky to pay relatively low taxes compared to northern suburbs with the same types of facilities..
Felicia Richmond March 31, 2013 at 11:25 PM
I'm a parent of 3 children that attended and graduated from HF. Im proud of their accomplishments and opportunities given to them by HF. I don't have a problem paying higher taxes if you give me what I pay for. A well rounded community! From head start to high school! No parent should have to send their children to a private school on top of paying high taxes. We can use an upgrade on street signs and lights...God Bless HF! Together we can do this!
alexandrahay May 01, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Bob - I would very much like to talk with you about your Title IX complaint against HF. I just filed on behalf of our female athletes, particularly softball, at Lake Central in Indiana due to proportionality violations. I look forward to hearing from you, Alexandra Hay hay4us@yahoo.com

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