Construction on Hononegah fieldhouse may begin this fall

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ROCKTON — Construction of a new fieldhouse at Hononegah Community High School could begin this fall with a completion date set for fall of 2019.

The Hononegah School District Board of Education met Wednesday and named Ringland-Johnson Construction the construction manager for the project. Site preparations is set to begin this summer, Hononegah Superintendent Lynn Gibson said.

“Were excited about beginning the next phase of the fieldhouse,” Gibson said.

The new 80,000-square-foot fieldhouse will include locker rooms, storage facilities, a flex classroom, fitness center and a community entrance. The fieldhouse is anticipated to cost $15.5 million, with 15 percent in contingency fees adding $2.3 million to the project for a total of $17.8 million.

Voters approved a referendum question on April 4, giving the school district a green light to move forward with the construction project. The fieldhouse is planned to replace the inflatable dome at Hononegah, which was deflated in an ice storm in December of 2015.

Plans to use base infrastructure, including water and gas lines, already at the site will be evaluated as construction designs are being drafted.

The school board will work with the referendum committee to draft a communications plan to improve outreach to the Rockton community. Informing the public of the process is key for the school in maintaining a strong relationship with residents, School Board President Dave Kurlinkus said.

“We want everyone to see how it is progressing as we move forward in this process,” Kurlinkus said. “We want everyone to be aware of what we are doing, and we want to make sure everyone understands we are going to do what we said we would.”

After designs are drafted, adjustments will be made and the plans will be turned into construction documents. District officials are currently working with DLA Architects out of Itasca, Illinois to draft the final plans.

Base infrastructure, including gas and water lines, at the current site will be used in the construction plan. Construction crews will check the footings below the foundation to see if they can be re-used, while examining all mechanical equipment still in place at the site.

“Anything that will be re-used will be,” Gibson noted.

Both Gibson and Kurlinkus said the school board was grateful for the successful passage of the referendum, which passed by a 127-vote margin and came nearly six months after a failed, larger referendum plan.

The referendum will increase taxes next year and require, on average, property owners in the district to pay $54 more annually over the life of the 15-year bond. The tax rate will change from 2.60 to 2.79, an increase of .19 percent. Taxes were lowered in the district after the school board voted to let bond options from 2012 expire.

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