Niles schools will keep visitor stands at stadium

Chris B.


The Band in Pre-game of the Niles game

The district also eliminated fees for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

NILES — Schools Superintendent Rocco Adduci reversed course Thursday and announced that the visitor stands at Bo Rein Stadium will not be demolished as part of construction plans for the new high school.

One month ago, Adduci had said he was going along with the district’s core construction committee, which had recommended demolition.

Instead, building plans for the new adjacent high school have been altered to accommodate the stadium.

“We had a number of residents opposed to demolishing the stands, and we listened to the community,” Adduci said.

As a result, the superintendent said the new high school, to be built on the site of the current Niles McKinley High School, has been lengthened on its north and south sides and widened on the east and west to accommodate the change.

“The integrity of the building is not in question,” Adduci said. “In fact, the building did get better.”

During his announcement to the board of education, Adduci praised the work of the architects for revising their plans. “We did not lose any square footage,” he said.

The superintendent said that the school district could only provide money for “band-aid” work for the stadium, such as broken pipes or painting, and could not afford to commit its general fund to refurbish the stadium. He called for support of a stadium committee that is trying to raise money to improve it.

In a related item, Adduci announced that the district has reached agreement on the use of the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel School for classrooms during construction of the first of the district’s two new elementary schools, which will begin next year. The superintendent said the state has approved $900,000 to cover the costs for the district. “When construction is completed, we will purchase the building for one dollar and it will become our new central [board] office,” Adduci said.

The board of education also went along with the superintendent’s recommendation to eliminate all fees previously charged to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Adduci said the decision would save families between $20 and $50 per student. The waiver applies to about 2,000 students.

“This is a tough economy, and it’s our way to give back to the families and thank them for their support of our bond issue,” Adduci said, adding that eliminating the fees will cost the district more than $20,000.

“We won’t make it up. It’s the cost of doing business,” Adduci said.

Students had been charged fees for such items as workbooks or art supplies. The fees, however, have been retained at the high school level.

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