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Lakewood getting closer to new stadium

HEBRON – The current plan is to begin physically rebuilding Lakewood stadium after this year’s football season, said Lakewood Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews. “We plan to schedule meetings in September to begin the design phase,” she said.

Lakewood School Board members selected Newark’s Jobes Henderson & Associates as design professional for the Calhoun Memorial Stadium Improvements Project at their August 10 board meeting. Members also authorized an agreement for services, with the cost of design and construction administration services being $150,000.

At the same time, Lakewood High School Assistant Principal Kevin Krier said the athletic boosters have raised roughly $428,000 of the target $580,000 needed to install artificial turf in the renovated stadium. “We’re getting close,” he said. Krier expects the boosters will be ready for “What’s going to be a magnificent stadium. We’ll be ready to go when Jobes and Henderson says a shovel goes in the ground. Every facet of our student body is represented in the people who have supported this project.”

“The boosters have done a great job,” Andrews said. She said even though the boosters are nearing their fundraising goal, they could still use donations and pledges.

Andrews said the district would help the boosters complete the stadium renovations. “The district has hired Jobes Henderson for stadium design,” she said, adding the district is pursuing internal financing for the stadium renovation; however, this does not include the cost of the turf. “The Lakewood Local Athletics Boosters are pursuing fundraising for the turf,” Andrews said. “The turf is a booster project and the stadium renovation is being pursued by the district. Both are working together to be able to complete both the turf and stadium at the same time.” Andrews said the stadium renovation would begin approximately Nov. 1, upon completion of football season, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 1, 2017.

“The district does not have a total cost for the stadium project at this time as we have not completed the bid process, however our discussion has assumed around $1.5 million,” Andrews said. “Further information will follow as we begin moving forward on the project.”

In addition to replacing the existing grass with turf, Krier said previously that plans are to renovate the concession stand, replace the scoreboard, add two lanes to the track, add restrooms, and bring the bleachers up to date.

Andrews was clear the stadium is just one of many improvements to the district. During the summer there have been improvements to the middle school gymnasium, lighting improvements to the high school auditorium, and improvements to parking and HVAC requirements. “There are bigger needs that need attention,” she said.

In other district news:

• Andrews said Wednesday she believes the entire Lakewood district staff is ready for the new school year to begin the next day. “We’re excited to kick off the new school year,” she said. Andrews said she expects the district to focus on internships for students and experiences that ready them for post-high school graduate life. Andrews said the curriculum would spotlight project based and authentic experiences. “We’re making sure we’re preparing our students for success,” she said. “The district should be held accountable for what our students do after high school.”

Andrews said teachers spent three days in professional development ahead of the first day of classes. She said it was nice to see students and parents during recent open houses. The students, Andrews said, seemed excited about returning to school after summer break. “I know it’ll be a great year,” she said.

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