Kearney district moves forward with stadium improvement plan

CONTRIBUTED ILLUSTRATION

This schematic shows where the three phases of stadium improvements will take place. Phase 1 includes construction of new, ADA-compliant seating and a press box. Phase 2 includes home side restrooms and concessions improvements, while Phase 3 includes work to the visitor’s side.

KEARNEY — Leaders in the Kearney School District will soon consider architectural renderings for the district’s next large construction project, a phased-in stadium improvement plan that will replace home side seating, improve handicap accessibility, replace the press box, add landscaping and replace concession structures and restrooms at the high school, 715 E. 19th St.

The school board approved in October contracting with DLR Group, the architectural design firm on the current districtwide bond improvement projects.

DLR is crafting schematic designs for three phases and construction services for Phase 1 for a total of $216,288.

“It’s an exciting project because it’s something we’ve known we’ve needed for some time,” said Superintendent Bill Nicely.

Designs will be brought before school board members for approval Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Nicely said the district always intended to do a stadium renovation at some point, but wanted to keep it separate from the April 2017 bond issue projects as bond passage was promoted to voters and passed on a promise of improvements pertaining to academics.

Stadium work, Nicely said, will be paid for with capital projects money in the budget along with money raised from future fundraising efforts.

“My interest was that we communicated to voters that we put bond dollars toward our academic facilities and we held true to that,” he said. “... The idea is that the district contributes to the purchase of new stadium seating and a new press box and then attempt to do fundraising that will allow for those other items.”

The board reviewed rudimentary renderings of stadium improvements during the September board meeting.

At the meeting, Board President Mark Kelly said updates are a “necessity,” as the facility currently is lacking in ADA-complaint seating.

Board member Dan Holloway said he thinks the community will support the effort through fundraising improvements being made are for ADA compliance.

If preliminary designs are approved in November, Nicely said, ideally, the board will approve final drawings in December with projects going to bid in January.

Costs for all phases have not been calculated.

The construction timeline, the superintendent said, is such that seating and the press box projects should be completed before the fall 2019 sports season.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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