Champaign school board OKs plans for Spalding Park renovations

Champaign school board OKs plans for Spalding Park renovations

CHAMPAIGN — Unit 4 is on its way to getting new baseball fields and tennis courts at Spalding Park.

On Monday night, the Champaign school board unanimously approved schematic designs for practice and competition fields, to be used by the Central High and Franklin Middle School teams, as well as additional tennis courts and a support building.

The entire project is slated to cost $3.6 million.

Elizabeth Stegmaier, Unit 4's director of capital projects and planning, told the school board that every project from the 2016 referendum — six schools, plus fields at Spalding and McKinley Field ($6.2 million) — is on schedule. This was the first schematic design ready for board approval.

Planners have been working with both the school district and Champaign Park District, which owns Spalding, on developing the schematic design.

The Spalding project will be put out for bid in March, with construction starting in late April or early May.

Scot Wachter, principal and president of Urbana's IGW Architecture, said the project should be completed by October 2018, with play starting at Spalding in the spring of 2019.

Wachter said the new competition baseball field will be fully fenced with a new synthetic turf infield.

It will have dugouts and bullpens for both home and visiting teams. The field will be fully lit, and batting cages and security cameras will be installed. Bleachers will seat 200 people.

Nearby will be a new natural grass and clay practice infield, but there won't be enough space to allow for a full outfield.

A nearby 3,600-square-foot support building will include a coach's office, concessions, restrooms, storage space and two locker rooms with 48 lockers and toilets.

There will also be a small locker room to accommodate any females who may play baseball.

Wachter said the exterior will include brick masonry and horizontal wood siding with a prefinished metal roof.

Phase 2 of the project involves the construction of a new, eight-court tennis facility with 12-foot-high fencing, wind screens, court lighting and security cameras.

The plans include a center aisle between the two rows of four tennis courts for access for spectators and officials.

But not everything at Spalding will be retained, according to the plans.

As a result of this work, two existing basketball courts at the park will be replaced by a single court.

Now that schematic designs are in place, the final plans must be approved later by both the school and park district boards.