MAHOMET — Sprucing up of the field house at Mahomet-Seymour High School to the tune of more than $1.5 million got big support from the state via the capital budget bill, Illinois Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, announced Tuesday night.
At the regular meeting of the Mahomet-Seymour board of education, Rose said a $400,000 grant is coming that will support renovations at the 20-year-old field house, which hasn’t had major revamping since it was built.
Part of the idea behind the grant is to foster cooperation between the Village of Mahomet and the school district so that public use of the field house increases.
“Administrators app-roached me about seeing if we can help from the state side,” Rose said. “We view this as a win-win for everyone.”
He suggested that the village and school district craft a written agreement to sketch out ways in which public access to the field house will be increased.
“One of the things that I’d like to see personally,” Rose said, “... is, for adults, obviously they’d like more walking time.
“We’d like the community and the school board to sit down and figure out a way to, in writing, expand access for everybody.”
Present at the school board meeting, Village President Sean Widener agreed that renovations and expanding use of the facility benefit the entire community.
“We look forward to any kind of partnership that we can do, and certainly welcome funds coming to Mahomet for sure,” Widener said.
Rose said Illinois Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, also supported work to get the state grant.
Widener noted, “We have staff, and Parks and Rec will work with that, hopefully come up with a win-win situation where we can help staff (at) the facility.”
Later in Tuesday’s meeting, board of education members approved a list of renovations to the field house, but not without first debating the potential scaling back of some items on the project list.
Estimated costs for sprucing up at Mahomet-Seymour High School, from the field house and beyond, as presented at the January school board meeting, included:
-- Field house floor — $572,219
-- Field house curtains — $175,135
-- Field house paint — $118,346
-- Field house tectum panels — $70,368
-- Field house fresh air intake — $31,900
-- Field house lobby bathrooms — $39,381
-- Field house locker rooms — $82,376
-- Team locker rooms — $53,786
-- MSHS office secured entry — $8,050
-- MSHS office carpet replacement — $35,357
-- MSHS industrial arts equipment — $49,450
As presented Tuesday, the total cost of renovations is about $1.57 million.
Bids were opened Tuesday. In an initial motion regarding Superintendent Lindsey Hall’s recommendation that the board approve the contracts as detailed, Ken Keefe sought to trim some of the items from the repair or replace list.
“I want to live within our means,” he said.
School board President Max McComb said the bids should be approved as recommended.
“I appreciate you trying to be creative,” McComb told Keefe. “I’m prone to accept the recommendations of Trent (Nuxoll, chief school business official).”
Keefe noted that the district has a number of other items which require spending, ranging from ways to decrease class size to other building needs beyond the high school.
Board member Meghan Hennesy questioned focusing funds on some areas but not others in the district.
“How do we keep spending these monies in these bubbles?” she asked. “I’m really struggling here with understanding how it’s fiscally responsible to live beyond our means time and time again, knowing that we have much larger needs that are going to have to be assessed.”
After discussion, the board voted to approve the package of renovations, including the field house work, as presented with only Keefe dissenting.
“It’s time to do it,” board member Merle Giles said.