BERRIEN SPRINGS — With construction underway on the new Sylvester Stadium and with work set to start next year on a new arts and athletic center, Berrien Springs school board members are already looking to do more.
On Thursday board member Eric Stoub asked consultant Tony Leininger when he expects to meet with the board’s facilities committee to talk about what happens next after the stadium and arts/athletic center. Leininger and Superintendent Dave Eichberg said that meeting could happen later this month or in December.
One of the new items that could be done sooner rather than later is the construction of a new road to loop around the campus. The new road was one of several items identified by the board when it developed a new district facilities master plan in late 2017 and early 2018.
“The loop has been prioritized high to happen much quicker than people think,” Leininger said. “It would especially be good to find another drive around the campus with the increased traffic from the stadium and the new center.”
Leininger was at Thursday’s board meeting to give board members an update on both projects, and also to field questions regarding where the district goes from here. He has guided the district through several building and renovation projects over the last several years.
Leininger said work is progressing on the $8 million new stadium, although much done to date has been underground and not that visible to people driving by. Items that are done or soon will be include the stormwater drainage system, the perimeter trench for the track and the foundation and slab for the bleachers.
He said he’s hopeful that this week’s winter weather won’t delay construction. The asphalt base for the parking lot and the precast concrete for the building should both be installed next week. He said there’s an urgency to get the building enclosed before more wintry weather hits. The stadium is still set to be done by next August.
With the other project, which will add a performing arts and indoor athletic center onto the high school at a cost of $19.7 million, he said work is in the last stage before the development of construction bid documents. Bids are expected to go out in March, with construction on the 20 month project starting in June.
The project is being funded by a bond issue approved by voters last November. Since then, the district has held visioning sessions that led to the development of schematic designs. Leininger said the next step will be to do a budget analysis the week of Nov. 25 to make sure the plans are still on track to come in at or below the budget.
Thursday’s meeting also featured recognition of dozens of elementary students for their achievement on last springs state assessment tests. Current fourth- through sixth-graders were recognized.