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Sports

Summer facility improvements underway at East, North

Both St. Charles East and St. Charles North are replacing their outdoor track surfaces this summer and East also is installing new tennis courts.

Work on each of the projects is underway and expected to be completed in time for the new school year in August.

John Baird, assistant superintendent for operations for District 303, said the track and related drainage work at East will cost about $550,000 while the project at North will cost about $340,000. Baird said East's project is more involved because East has an older track that requires more foundational work.

Team REIL, out of Union, in McHenry County, is handling both track replacements, with the North project likely to be wrapped up first, Baird said.

The tennis courts replacement at East, meanwhile, is being done by West Chicago-based Evans & Son Blacktop, Inc. Replacing the courts, along with refurbishment of the nearby driver's ed parking lot, will cost about $516,000, according to Baird.

East athletic director Mike Sommerfeld said the track and tennis improvements at East have been in the works as part of a long-range plan.

"The tennis courts, that was just us trying to be proactive," Sommerfeld said. "These things get placed on a schedule for budgetary reasons. There are costs associated with them, so [the district makes sure] there are not so many big projects going on in one year."

Sommerfeld said the construction will cause few logistical challenges this summer, though East's tennis camps have been shifted to North. He said the upgrades to the northeast end of campus should be well-received by East teams – and their opponents.

"I think overall we've done a pretty good job updating our facilities probably over the last 10 years or so," Sommerfeld said. "These two projects just are going to fit in nicely. They'll be brand-new and shiny so when teams do come I'm sure they'll be impressed with these two facilities, and they'll complement our outside facilities we have with baseball and softball as well."

East and North could soon be joined by Batavia as Tri-Cities schools with new track surfaces.

Replacing Batavia's track is recommended as part of the agenda for tonight's school board meeting. Eventually installing a turf field has been a discussion point at Batavia in recent months but the district is zeroing in on a new track as a separate project.

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