Nicolet approves athletic field renovations

June 24, 2014

Glendale — Nicolet High School will solicit donations to build an improved football field, 13-court tennis complex and a joint recreation facility.

Presented with three different renovation options, the Nicolet Union High School District School Board voted unanimously on Monday, June 23 to pursue what has been referred to at a public information meeting as "Option 2," which calls for $17 million to $20 million in fundraising and naming rights donations. The School Board hopes to offset those costs with the sale of the upper field on the opposite side of Interstate 43, which the district expects to generate between $7 million and $10 million.

The school's tennis courts are currently located on either side of the interstate, but under the renovation plan, a new 13-court tennis complex would be built north of the football field. The courts would be located on a 3-acre parcel of land that was purchased by the school district roughly 10 years ago. Two houses on that land will be torn down to make way for the tennis complex, which would require a rezoning approval from the village of River Hills.

The plans also call for additional track lanes and synthetic turf on the football field, allowing the field to be used by gym classes, youth sports and the recreation department. The bleachers would be built into the hillside along I-43, creating bowl-like stadium seating and interstate visibility of naming rights. The press box would be moved to the east side of the field, with the sound and lights directed away from the surrounding neighborhood.

The plans would also move the baseball team from its non-regulation field at Stormonth Elementary School to a proposed 14-acre athletic complex on Bender Road and Baker Road. The city of Glendale has offered to sell the land to the school district for $1 per year over the next 50 years. The site would feature a playground area, a bandshell for the Music in the Glen concert series and three synthetic turf fields: a collegiate-regulation baseball field, a girls softball field and a third field for both softball and little league teams.

By making its baseball field compliant with collegiate regulations, the district hopes to rent its field to Cardinal Stritch, the Milwaukee School of Engineering or possibly the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. College baseball is played in the spring, while Nicolet plays in the summer.

The School Board was originally presented with three renovation options recommended by the Master Site Planning Committee, a citizen group that has been working since September to assess the school's current and future facility needs. A public information meeting was held earlier this month, where several citizens spoke favorably about Option 2.

"Conversations about upgrading Nicolet's athletic facilities have been ongoing for nearly 35 years," said Nicolet Superintendent Robert Kobylski. "The committee did their homework and the community response has been very positive. People appreciate that we will not be using taxpayer dollars to fund the project."

The resolution approved by the board Monday night also establishes a citizen oversight committee to approve all expenditures and projects once private funding has been secured.

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