MAPLE PARK – At least two organizations will be affected starting next month in the Kaneland High School area, as a TransCanada natural gas pipeline upgrade project will get underway.
Julie-Ann Fuchs, the assistant superintendent for business for Kaneland School District 302, said the project will take place on the east side of campus and run north and south. During the period of construction, the area being worked on will be fenced off, with fencing extended 75 feet to the east and 75 feet to the west of where the work is taking place.
Fuchs said that will affect the Kaneland High School band, which uses part of that area for practice. It also will affect the Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization, which uses the nearby fields for practice and its weekly games. Kaneland High School is located at 47W326 Keslinger Road in Maple Park.
Fuchs said she is not sure whether it will affect the Kaneland Future Farmers of America group.
She said the district was notified of the project on Aug. 18. There are three underground natural gas pipelines that will be part of the project, according to information sent by TransCanada. Fuchs said the work is set to begin Sept. 15.
The KYSO sent information to parents indicating that the construction work would "affect our soccer season," meaning both the KYSO and its Kaneland United Soccer Club.
"The impact is the current soccer fields will be closed by mid-September through early November and will require changes to the KYSO and KUSC seasons," the KYSO's notice stated. The notice said that the KYSO and the school district would be considering options "that will allow for a great soccer season." Field locations, season length and game times might be affected, but it promised that "there will be a season."
Fuchs said the marching band will be working with the high school administration to make arrangements.
According to information sent by TransCanada, the project is expected to run through early November. From November until spring 2015, the company's information indicates it will complete additional restoration of property and recreational fields. According to the information, TransCanada stated it would replace sections of the pipelines with a thicker wall and higher strength pipe, which "will add an extra measure of safety and security to our already safe and reliable system."
The information from TransCanada indicated that "24-hour security personnel will add an extra measure of safety for everyone who visits the campus."
Fuchs brought up the subject at Monday's Kaneland School District 302 Board meeting, and parents and board members indicated there was some concern about the project. A parent, Montgomery resident Melissa Anderson, asked when parents would be alerted to the situation. Fuchs said the district was working on sending out information.
Board member Tony Valente asked whether the project could be stopped and perhaps done in the summer, when the impact could be lessened.
"I'll be worried about that every single day as a parent," Valente said.
Fuchs said later that administrators didn't have input on the timing of the project. Jenna Palfrey, a company representative, said that the company became aware of the increased use in the area during the summer. At that point, she said, the company was required to make upgrades before winter.
Fuchs said she would invite representatives from TransCanada to a board meeting on Sept. 8. Palfrey said at least one company representative would attend.
"Any time anyone in a community where we have a presence invites us to a public forum, we want to be there," Palfrey said.
Palfrey said those with questions should call 855-895-8754.
• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.