River Ridge athletic fields taking shape

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The new track and football field at River Ridge are beginning to take shape.

Work is being done on the new press box-concession stand as well as the lights, backstop and grounds of the new baseball and softball field complex.

 

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The $2.2 million River Ridge athletic fields project is beginning to take shape. Some lights and the football scoreboard are up and the foundation for the new track is under construction. Also, the new baseball and softball complex is under construction, including the press box-concession stand, backstops, lights, fencing and playing fields.

Top Notch Construction near Patch Grove is the general contractor and Vincent Excavating of Lancaster is doing the excavation work.

The project will improve the grounds of the Patch Grove school by adding a football field, practice football field, eight-lane rubberized track, lighting for all fields, and a concession stand/press box/restroom building.

During a March 25 special meeting, the school board voted 6-0 to borrow $700,000 toward the project. In May, the district borrowed another $1 million for the project.

The district will have a referendum in either February or April of 2020 to refinance the project. If the referendum passes, it will save about $500,000 from the project cost.

Before the March 25 special meeting, the district already had $500,000 for the project, $165,000 for lighting which was approved in the referendum of 2016 to have all grades at the Patch Grove school, and $335,000 from insurance premium holidays.

The athletic fields project won’t be completed in time for football, so River Ridge football games this fall will be played on the Bloomington field.

The payments for the River Ridge athletic fields project will be about $91,000 per year over 20 years.

Since the 2016 referendum passed, the River Ridge student enrollment has gone up from 517 to 552. District officials have said all River Ridge students would use the new facilities for physical education, the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, and other fitness training.

River Ridge has about 200 more students than every other school in its conference, and therefore, the new facility will be well used. The lights will allow for full length doubleheaders in baseball and softball, and also for JV games without being cancelled due to darkness.

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