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Committee to study finances for upgrades at Norris Recreation Center

Published: Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 7:22 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – With an estimated $4.5 million in improvements identified at the Norris Recreation Center – plus work to be done to its racquetball courts – leaders of St. Charles School District 303 and the recreation center agreed Thursday to form a committee that will examine the finances for such work.

Once the committee decides how much the school district and center can afford, the school board will decide how to proceed, Superintendent Don Schlomann said.

The committee will include citizens and members from the school board and rec board.

The process could take about six months, Schlomann said.

“From our end, there is no rush on this,” he said.

D-303 manages the Norris Recreation Center at 1050 Dunham Road, but the facility is supervised by its own board of directors.

The discovery of mold in the fitness center’s 1979 addition opened the door for the capital improvement discussions, Schlomann said.

Because the mold had the potential to affect other areas of the building – which would affect students – D-303 spent nearly $94,000 last month on mold abatement.

The affected racquetball courts remain closed.

In a joint meeting of the district’s Business Services Committee and the Norris Recreation Center Board, a representative from the architectural firm ATS&R presented options for the racquetball courts and a capital improvement plan for the athletic facility.

At $176,283, demolishing the racquetball courts and adjacent corridor would be the cheapest option.

Other options ranged between $409,811 and $444,114. In addition to eliminating water infiltration, they would either restore the three courts or convert the courts into fitness rooms.

About $4.5 million in improvements to the facility is also needed. Immediate needs total nearly $500,000; work that should be done in one to five years totals about $1.6 million; and long-range needs amount to about $2.3 million.

Calling the repairs and improvements a “team effort,” recreation center Director Jon Monken said the center realizes it needs to financially contribute to the work.

School board member Kathy Hewell said she wants to know the use of the courts and data on enrollment.

“The center’s never been doing better,” recreation center board member John Collins said. “The place has never looked better.”

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