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Athletic complex moving forward

McDonald seeks bids for training facility, locker room

McDONALD — Having used the new athletic complex for two home football games this fall, the McDonald schools are proceeding with the third phase of the project by constructing a training facility / locker room.

Superintendent Kevin O’Connell told the board of education Wednesday the two games at the complex this month were successful, with many parents, community members and coaches expressing how much they liked it.

“It is exciting. The next phase for us to tackle there is the training center and locker room. We will turn our attention to that as we move the project forward,” O’Connell said.

Board member Joseph Cappuzzello said the training center will provide a place for athletes to train and get them out of the school gymnasium. He said baseball batting cages and golf nets can be placed there as well.

“There will be no wasted space. We will have areas used for athletes to train for different sports throughout the year. Moving more of the sports here will take the stress off our gymnasium,” Cappuzzello said.

The district is working with Strollo Architects on the project.

O’Connell said the district would like to receive bids before Christmas. Officials said they are concerned about a potential labor shortage.

O’Connell said work has been completed on the visitor bleachers, handicapped-accessible ramps on both the home and visitor bleachers, and handicapped parking spaces, sound system and lighting.

He said the lights can be adjusted so more light is on during the game and then on the parking lots after the game. The security lights are set to come on at sunset and go off at sunrise.

The athletic complex has been discussed for many years. The new complex is about two or three minutes from the current athletic facilities by the high school. The project funding comes from an emergency levy approved by voters in November 2016 that generates $260,000 per year. The complex is estimated to cost most than $2.6 million.

One of the biggest additions for the school will be a track complex. Officials said they have not been able to host a track meet for more than 20 years because the current one does not meet regulation standards without eight lanes.

Also, a new turf field, expanded parking and improved locker rooms will give the school the potential to host playoff games in football.

The board at the meeting approved the transfer of $100,000 from the district replacement fund to the athletic facility fund.

In other business, O’Connell said student attendance is improving since a few weeks ago when the elementary school had 60 students and the high school had 90 off sick. He said the average daily absence is 50 students.

He said the past week the attendance has improved to about 23 students absent per day with the elementary having only nine students absent one day.

“We are back to a traditional attendance like it used to be,” he said.

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