April 25, 2014

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North Ridgeville puts new stadium on fast track

Water stands on the sideline of the North Ridgeville High School football stadium Friday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Water stands on the sideline of the North Ridgeville High School football stadium Friday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Like a receiver who stuns the crowd with an unexpected touchdown grab out of the backfield, school officials are planning a blitz of their own when it comes to a new $8 million football stadium.

The stadium is part of a major project dominated by a new third- through eighth-grade middle school for which voters approved a $58.1 million bond issue Tuesday.

“We’re on the fast track and hoping to have this stadium finished and ready to be playing games there for keeps by the end of next August,” said William Greene, assistant superintendent of building services for North Ridgeville Schools.

That issue includes funds for an estimated $8 million, 5,000-seat stadium that will replace the aging field and stands now behind North Ridgeville Middle School.

The new field will be built on land adjacent to North Ridgeville High School, where the new middle school will be constructed as well.

“Take away the winter months and that leaves the period essentially from March to July,” Greene said.

Even with an architectural firm and contractor in place and ready to go by spring, officials know it’s going to be a lot of work to excavate and prepare land, including building a multilane track surrounding the football field, as well as new home and visitor stands and installing lighting to be ready for the 2014 season.

And that’s assuming Mother Nature doesn’t make things difficult.

“There are always unforeseen circumstances such as getting a harsh winter or an exceptionally wet spring and summer,” Greene said.

For the 2015 football season, North Ridgeville will move from the West Shore Conference to Southwestern Conference, whose members include Avon Lake, Amherst, North Olmsted and Westlake.

“We want to be in full swing by the time we join the new conference,” Greene said. “We will definitely hold our own in terms of facilities.”

The current stadium field dates to the 1930s and its stands were built about 1960.

The day after the election, administrators and school board members met for three hours to discuss the new school and stadium.

That followed earlier meetings the same day with an attorney who specializes in school construction, and officials from the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

The state agency approved $8.9 million for the new school after ranking it first among 24 Ohio school projects that sought state financial aid for new buildings through the commission’s Exceptional Needs program.

On Friday, Greene and other local school officials toured Mayfield High School’s Wildcat Stadium, which opened in 2012.

The 4,500-seat stadium includes a synthetic-turf field and 400 “premium” seats with seatbacks located between the 35-yard lines.

“They charge a dollar more for those seats than the typical bleacher seats, but they’re a nice convenience for fans,” Greene said.

Other districts such as Brunswick and North Royalton charge $12 and $20 respectively for seatback seats, Greene said.

Other upgrades being eyed by North Ridgeville include an eight-lane running track, new concession stands and press box.

A committee of representatives and coaches from the district’s football, soccer and track programs, along with administrators, is being formed to get a feel for what each group would like to see in the new facility.

Plans call for the stadium architecture to blend into that of the new school, which likely won’t be ready sooner than the 2015-16 school year.

North Ridgeville hopes to be able to begin advertising for proposals from architectural firms in December, after OSFC officials provide the district with a list of qualifications those firms must have to submit plans.

“There’s a lot of nervous energy here,” Greene said. “It’s good. We’ve waited so long for this.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • reallyoldfarts

    Hooray for North Ridgeville Schools! Even though all my kids are done with middle school and only did track, it’s great to have the people of this town behind these much needed improvements!

  • Kevin Sears

    Figures, go for the stadium first.. and im sure it will com in on time and ON BUDGET.. yeah right.. the education should come first before any athletic complex.. no wonder the schools are failing.

    • GS

      Which “schools are failing”? Our North Ridgeville schools are rated Excellent!

  • GreatRedeemer

    Their taxpayers must be loaded out there.

  • outraged taxpayer

    As a parent and taxpayer in North Ridgeville, I am outraged that the school board would be this brazen to spend their new money on something like this, the voters and people of this city should all be furious, we need serious change in the schools and in the city government, WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Spec440

      They have been very upfront throughout the entire process about what the money was going to be spent on. If this is shocking to you, perhaps you should educate yourself more prior to voting.

  • Jeff Kuhn

    That new money they just took from me must be burning a hole in their pockets. With the passage of last year’s levy and this levy, I am giving $150 more per month to the schools. For what? Are kids any smarter? Are they actually learning anything? Go talk to a typical kid. I’ll bet as he’s speaking to you, the word “Dumb-Axx” traverses your mind. Disgusting. What do we need a new stadium for, anyway? What a waste of our money.

    • GS

      Wow, $150 more a month? I didn’t realize we had $1 million dollar houses here in North Ridgeville.

      • Jeff Kuhn

        The levy costs a $100K home $28/month. My home is assessed at $283k. Add it up. Add that to the levy from last year, and it’s $150 per month. EVERY year they ask for more tax money. Now the Mayor wants a property tax increase to widen Center Ridge. When will it end?

        • GS

          Its $14.50 per $100K, not $28. And it will never end. Although the courts have ruled over and over that the way the state funds schools is unconstitutional, no one ever steps up to do anything about it.

          • Jeff Kuhn

            Thanks for the clarification. I’m happy that it’s only half of what I thought (I saw it on one of the advertisements), but I”m still upset over the gimme gimme gimme attitude of our local governments.

          • Jeff Kuhn

            And that still adds up to $500 per year in increased taxes. that puts me over $6K. It’s ridiculous.

        • Zen Grouch

          I don’t claim to know, but I have to wonder how much a new stadium and school will increase your property value, should you ever decide to sell.

          Possibly enough to offset your higher taxes… maybe not though…

        • brewmaster

          Your home’s assessed value is probably not $283K that is probably the market value. The assessed value is much lower, which is what the tax is based on.

  • tax payer and supporter

    They told everyone what the levy was for, and it passed. I have no problem with it and yes, I am a parent with children in the system, ages 4 up to 17. And I’m also a graduate of the system. The old stadium was junk, and so was the old middle scho. Who cares which building is done first, as long as they get done asap. This levy needed to pass, especially for the new middle school, because Center Ridge Rd is set to be widened starting 2016 and the new edge of the road would butt up about 20 feet from the old middle school building. Its called progress!

    • William mah

      NO !! the stadium was never mentioned. It was always about the poor shape of our schools and overcrowding. Doughnuts with daddy and muffins with mothers wasn’t for our kids, it was another way for the school admin. to cram the needs of a levy passing crammed down our throats. Deceived is what they did to us. Someone should be held responsible for these lies

      • waltschmidt

        The new stadium was mentioned repeatedly. There’s no conspiracy here. Good for them to get started on what can be done quickly.

  • William mah

    Really? school are in such bad shape, letters sent home with kids telling us how bad shape schools are in….but yet an 8million dollars high school field. WOW did taxpayers of Ridgeville get lied too !!! never was it mentioned that a new stadium was getting built. All we heard of was how a new school was gonna be built…and now lets build a stadium before the school that we so desperately needed. As a taxpayer here in Northridgeville I have been deceived. And as a parent of children in these schools, I have been LIED too. Wait until you put another levy on the ballot. These actions will be brought up to taxpayers and a levy will NEVER pass again in this city. THANKS FOR YOUR LIES

    • lmastalski

      I live in TX and I knew the stadium was part of construction. Also, how does it make sense to play at the old stadium when they plan to sell the property? And yes, they needed a new middle school. That building was long past it’s prime 30 years ago when I was in the building.

      • waltschmidt

        Now, don’t let common sense come into play, Imastalski. It’s athletics! It must be a waste of money. This town and its school system have improved greatly since I moved here more than a decade ago. The backwards thinking is still out there, but it is dwindling.

  • SpaceTech

    $8 Million dollars for a football stadium? Education in every school system should come far before sports!
    I don’t care if the school system is rated “excellent”!

  • atdietz80

    If this were Texas, no one would blink an eye about the cost. $8M is surely the going rate for a Pop Warner field out there. I’m not sure why Ridgeville needs a 5,000 seat stadium. How many times will it get close to full? Strongsville built their stadium for less than $2M and it was privately funded. Clearly not enough money is being spent on education in North Ridgeville! Simple math shows that this field will cost 4X as much is Strongsville’s. This is poor value for tax dollars. It will cost way too much and will not earn its money back in our lifetimes.

    • lmastalski

      I don’t know about Strongsville’s stadium but I can’t imagine there’s any private money in NR to build a stadium and frankly it sounds like the taxpayers looking for a handout. $8MM doesn’t sound like an outrageous price for seating, concessions, a turf field, a track, and locker rooms. The turf and synthetic rubber track are really safety issues and will allow more use of the facilities (remember the bad rain a couple of years ago that forced a home game to be moved because of unsafe field conditions). As far as TX, our school district just turned down a bond levy because it included $66 million for a second stadium for the district. It’ll get downsized slightly and end up on the ballot in the spring or next fall.

      • ft353 .

        What a shill

        • lmastalski

          A shill? How so?

  • Roxi Lisi

    Great for Ridgeville schools!!! Because that field and those visitors stands.. I thought I was going to fall through the stands and the field was horrible! Very exciting for the kids!!!

  • wahoo99

    There is going to be a 8.1 mill levy increase submitted shortly.

    • brewmaster

      Thats will not be a surprise. The administration is high on themselves right now and figure they can continue to guilt the voters into passing anything. I am just glad we are getting a new stadium and I hope they put premium seats in because I imagine the couple hundred people who show up will be willing to pay extra for a seatback.

  • Macdaddyoh

    HOW ABOUT SEWER LINES DOWN 83? TAKE THAT STADIUM AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR YOU NO WHERE!!

    • Spec440

      Wait…that bond money was for sewer lines too? I didn’t know that. Yeah….what about the sewer lines? …sigh…

  • outraged taxpayer

    New middle school needs to be built before a new stadium. I can’t tell you how many times my kids came home and stated how hot it was in school or how cold it was. How many times was it closed due to flooding? So let’s think about this……..how productive are we as employees when it 90 degrees out and the air conditioning is not working in our office or building??????? How productive are we as employees if we are cold because our office or building is freezing????? So how can we expect KIDS 11-14, whose attention span is not good to begin with because they are kids, be productive and concentrate. We love sports and support our teams, but REALLY????. Academics should come before sports! Our kids play football and baseball and they even feel that a new school is needed and they won’t even benefit from this!