ST. CHARLES – Plans are underway for an artificial turf field to be installed at the St. Charles East High School stadium.
The St. Charles School District 303 Board on Dec. 11 awarded a design and construction services contract to Rettler and Associates. The same company provided those services for the artificial surface recently installed at St. Charles North High School's stadium.
District officials anticipate the field will be resurfaced before the fall football season.
The field will be used not only for football games, but also for the school's physical education and adaptive physical education classes – and by the public.
“This is another good opportunity to add value to the district and the community as well,” said board member Nick Manheim.
District officials cited the greater durability and lower maintenance of an artificial field surface, compared to the existing natural turf.
The estimated total project cost is $1.25 million. The district plans to seek construction bids and award contracts in the spring.
Funding for the field will come from construction fund reserves and savings from the Thompson Middle School building and renovation project, whose cost so far is $2 million lower than the amount the district expected and budgeted for it.
If additional costs arise during the Thompson construction, the district “still will have more than enough money going forward in the [project] contingency fund,” said board President Kathy Hewell.
The St. Charles East athletic boosters group showed its support of the artificial turf project by committing to raise $200,000 toward replacing the artificial turf after it reaches its full lifetime, expected to be 10 to 13 years. The pledge mirrors one that the St. Charles North athletic boosters made for the North field.
Lower tax bills likely with debt reduction
District 303 property taxpayers likely will see a significant reduction in the school portion of their tax bills in May thanks to the elimination of most of the district's debt, school officials said during the board meeting Dec. 11.
The district's debt will be reduced by $16 million with the payoff of St. Charles North construction bonds. That reduction will translate to a $573 savings for the owner of a home with a market value of $300,000, provided that the home value remains the same.