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Education

Groundbreaking held for new Highland Athletic Complex

8/21/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Scott Kriska

Members of the Highland Board of Education and others involved with the Highland Athletic Complex project broke ground at a special ceremony for the new facility Aug. 18.
Photo: Scott Kriska
Following the Highland Local Schools Board of Education meeting Aug. 18, those who attended withdrew from Highland High School to the construction site of the new Highland Athletic Complex outside the nearby Highland Library for a groundbreaking ceremony.

Starting in the 2015-16 school year, this facility will replace the current football stadium, which was built in 1959. While the current stadium can seat a little more than 1,000 people, the new stadium that will be part of the new athletic complex will seat up to 5,000 people, according to district officials.

Superintendent Catherine Aukerman was the first of several speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony. She said the idea of building a new athletic facility first came up after completion of the new Highland High School building in 2004. A resolution to start the construction of the complex was passed in December 2013.

Aukerman said the complex will not just be used by the football team. She said the facilities also will be used by the Highland marching band for rehearsals and also will include tennis courts. She added the complex will have both co-curricular and extracurricular connections.

Besides the stadium, the first phase of the athletic complex is expected to include a synthetic turf, an eight-lane track, tennis courts, locker rooms and concession areas, according to district officials.

Aukerman said the athletic complex is scheduled to be completed by August 2015, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held when construction is completed.

Following Aukerman’s speech were comments from board President Dr. Norman Christopher and Highland Athletic Facilities Association President Joe Kohmann, who said he is leading a fundraising effort. Kohmann said he hopes to raise up to $3 million for the project.

Then, Highland Athletic Boosters President Curtis Mall and Treasurer Jim Florian presented Christopher with a $225,000 check from the booster club for the project. Two other donors were recognized — Castek Aluminum of Elyria President Dan Petek for his donation of a Hornet sculpture and Scott Bindel, project manager at Gilbane Building Co. of Cleveland, for his donation of a ceremonial shovel for that evening’s ceremony.

The ceremony ended with Board of Education members breaking ground by digging through a pile of dirt. Members of this year’s Highland Hornets football team also had the opportunity to do some digging.

At the board meeting that preceded the groundbreaking ceremony, the board approved the following items:

  • the authorization of participation in the 2015 Workers’ Compensation Group Rating Program administered by CompManagement Inc.;
  • the certification of standards governing types of food and beverages sold on school premises, in accordance with Ohio law;
  • bus routes for the 2014-15 school year;
  • the acceptance of a sixth-grade tuition student at Highland Middle School for the 2014-15 school year;
  • the use of Hinckley Elementary School parking lots and restrooms and waiving associated fees for the Hinckley Community Garage Sale Sept. 6;
  • tier pricing of $3.50 for a la carte food and beverage items at Highland Middle School and Highland High School;
  • Contracts and agreements with Evolve Academy, the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Ohio Schools Council Lake Erie Educational Media Consortium, the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County and the Medina County Schools’ Educational Service Center; and
  • various personnel items.

The next Highland Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Media Center at Highland High School, 4150 Ridge Road.

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