Nicolet plans significant upgrade of its sports fields

Under Option 2, these 13 tennis courts would be constructed at differing elevations north of the Nicolet football field.

Under Option 2, these 13 tennis courts would be constructed at differing elevations north of the Nicolet football field.

June 4, 2014

Glendale — Nicolet school officials are seeking community input on several possibilities that would significantly improve the quality of the school's playing fields.

The district's Master Site Planning Committee has been working since September to analyze the district's athletic fields, which the committee has deemed outdated or deficient. The committee has come up with three potential solutions, which will be presented publicly at a community information meeting Thursday night from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the high school library.

Outdated facilities

Nicolet was built in the 1950s, and many of the athletic fields have not undergone significant change since that time, said Nicolet Superintendent Robert Kobylski.

The school's "upper field" on the opposite side of Interstate 43, south of the Pick 'n Save grocery store, is unplayable for most of the year because the ground is usually saturated in the spring. The tennis courts, located just south of the football field, have flooded several times and are vulnerable to storm damage. The Nicolet boys baseball team currently plays at Stormonth School field, where the left field line runs up against the side of the school building. The school's track also does not have enough lanes to host sectional and regional meets.

All three of the committee's proposals would install synthetic turf in the football fields, softball fields and the back fields by Daphne Road. Kobyle said artificial turf would allow higher usage, less injuries and less maintenance than a traditional grass field. Options 2 and 3 would bring all of the fields up to collegiate standards, which may entice adult recreation leagues and collegiate athletic programs into renting the facilities.

In an environment where North Shore schools compete for enrollment, Kobylski said he expects updated athletic facilities to give Nicolet an edge over other districts. Just last week, Whitefish Bay unveiled an artificial turf field for its boys baseball team, and plans are in the works to lay artificial turf on the girls softball field. Kobylski also said improved athletic fields go hand in hand with a well-rounded education, pointing to studies indicating that students involved in athletics and extra-curricular activities have better attendance and grades than other students.

"It's vital for us to remain a comprehensive high school where academics are complemented by athletic activities," Kobylski said.

Three options presented

Option 1: The first option calls for improving the existing facilities in their current locations, while moving the tennis court to the upper field to avoid storm water problems. Synthetic turf would be installed on the football field, multi-sport fields and softball fields, but the baseball team would continue to play at Stormonth. The football fields would also get new bleachers and a new facility for restrooms, concessions and storage. The size of the soccer field and the number of track lanes would be increased to meet collegiate requirements. This option is estimated to cost between $8.3 million and $9.1 million.

The second and third option would move the baseball team to a proposed 14-acre athletic complex on Bender Road and Green Bay Road. The city of Glendale has offered to sell the former brownfield site to the school district for $1 per year over the next 50 years. The site would feature three fields: one that meets collegiate requirements, a second field for the girls softball team and a third field for softball and little league teams.

Option 2: This option, which has been favored by most committee members, calls for a renovation of almost all sports fields. The high school football field would not only get synthetic turf, but would also be built into the hillside to create elevated stadium seating, a new press box and a multi-use concession and restroom building. Just north of the football field, a 13-court tennis complex would be built into the grade, with one premier championship court at the top of the hill. This option would allow the sale of the upper field, which Kobylski said has been estimated at $10 million to $15 million in value. If the district gets $10 million for the sale, this option is estimated to cost $7.8 million to $9.8 million, and if the district comes up short with a $7 million sale, the project would cost between $10.8 million and $12.6 million.

Option 3: This option calls for the same improvements as Option 2, but like Option 1, moves the tennis courts to the upper field on the opposite side of I-43 instead of building it into the grade north of the football field. Under this option, the district would continue to own the land north of the football field to allow for potential expansion in the future. Estimated to cost between $18.8 million and $20.7 million, this option is the most expensive because the construction costs are not offset by the sale of the upper field.

Next steps

The School Board is seeking community input on these plans, while also seeking new ideas that could be incorporated into the plans. After tonight's community input meeting, the board will consider the community's feedback and make a final decision at its June 23 meeting. Those who are unable to attend the community input meeting can view the plans and fill out a feedback form online at

An oversight committee will approve all expenditures and projects will only proceed when private funding has been secured. The phasing of the construction will be determined at a later date and is dependent upon meeting fundraising benchmarks. Kobylski estimates the project will take four to five years to complete.


What: Master Site Planning Committee Community Information Meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, June 5

Where: Nicolet High School Library, 6701 N. Jean Nicolet Road

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