Huntington County Community School Corporation (HCCSC) Superintendent Chad Daugherty presented the layout and design of a new, $7.5 million multi-purpose facility for Huntington North High School (HNHS) during the HCCSC board of trustees’ regular meeting on Monday night, March 22.
Daugherty sought permission from the board to seek bids on the project. He was unanimously granted permission.
The new facility will replace the current HNHS football field, Kriegbaum.
Kriegbaum Field was built in 1929, Daugherty explained. He says the facility has served Huntington schools since 1969. In addition to HNHS football, the field is currently used by the high school’s track and band.
There are several issues with the current stadium, Daugherty explained. He says the field cannot house soccer, or be used during the school day.
He also says there is a lack of parking, and many safety issues with the stadium, especially since it is located off campus, across a state highway.
“It is a failing facility,” he explains, “Health and safety of both players and patrons is a concern.”
“Looking at these current bleachers,” he continued, “they are end-of-life, they are not ADA compliant.”
Daugherty adds that cracks in the foundation of the concrete bleachers have led to leaks in the locker rooms.
According to Daugherty, the process of considering a new facility for HNHS football began over 10 years ago, in 2009.
In the fall of 2018, he explains, the HCCSC Board of Trustees began visiting facilities at area high schools and researching a budget for a new stadium.
Daugherty says the goals of the new facility are: must be multi-purpose and flexible with artificial turf; improved access of facility for year-round use during the school day; ADA compliance; structural safety/stability; less man hours to maintain or upkeep; outdoor restrooms, locker rooms, concessions and gate entrance; host band competitions; host community events; and facilities can host sectional and regional tournaments.
Daugherty outlined in detail the structural plans for a new multi-purpose facility.
He said the new multi-purpose facility will include turf football and soccer fields; LED lighting; home bleachers and a press box for 2,500 fans; two buildings to the east and west; a front gate for ticketing; new softball field; practice field; drainage for retention ponds; fencing; track and field events; concrete/earthwork; scoreboard and sound; and use of current portable bleachers for visitors.
The outdoor buildings, Daugherty says, will house home and visitor locker rooms, public restrooms and storage, as well as concessions and an electrical room.
Daugherty touted the many benefits of a new multi-purpose facility, including the relocation of the facility to the HNHS campus, the ability to use the facility year-round and during the school day, and the use of the facility for events varying from the school’s JROTC program to community events and more.
Daugherty says bids will be received on April 28, and a special board meeting will be held on May 3 to approve bids, at which time, a notice to proceed will be set in place. Daugherty hopes construction will begin on May 10.
In other business:
• The purchase of a bus wash machine was approved. Scott Bumgardner, business manager for HCCSC said, “We have the additional revenue that doesn’t have an expenditure type to it,” in regards to the purchase. He said this purchase is a way to put money back into this department to show appreciation for what they do. The bus wash machine will be portable and will cost roughly $33,000.
• Daugherty gave an update on the HVAC project at the high school. He says “chillers” will be installed over spring break and vents will be cleaned. He says “we will be functional and ready to go for our seniors” for prom and graduation in May.
• Student handbook changes were finalized for the upcoming school year. Changes can be seen in full at the corporation’s website.
• Proposed changes to the 2021-22 school calendar were approved unanimously. They include no school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the moving around of certain “eLearning” and “Flex Days” and setting graduation over Memorial Day weekend. The 2022-23 calendar was also approved. The calendars can be viewed at www.hccsc.k12.in.us.
Daugherty reported seven staff members are currently quarantined due to COVID-19, as well as 88 students. In total since the beginning of the school year, 87 staff and 210 students have tested positive for COVID-19.
The next school board meeting will be held after spring break, on Monday, April 19 at 7 p.m.