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New facility at Hamilton High School slated for late fall

June 23, 2014

With construction underway at Sussex Hamilton High School for a multipurpose indoor athletic and classroom training facility, Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud presented a thorough update at the board of education budget hearing on Monday, June 16.

The new facility, with a target completion date of November, is being built without a referendum and is being funded through the district's maintenance budget and fund balance.

The cost of the facility is to not exceed $4.83 million.

Within the facility, an AstroTurf field will be installed for sports such as football, baseball, golf, soccer and track and field.

Ruud spoke of the Green Bay Packers' Don Hutson Center as an example of the type of indoor structure being built at Hamilton, though athletes won't be the only ones benefiting from the facility

"We anticipate to use it for part of our fitness ed program," Ruud said. "Obviously, the band using that is partially available for practice marching up field because there will be a large field. I can even see something like our robotics club practicing in there. It's a real flexible space."

It is estimated that the structure will be one third the cost of a field house.

Students use the cafeteria and school hallways to train, in addition to the main gym, small gym and wrestling room.

The high school weight room will be relocated and expanded, as well.

"The needs for athletic space are significantly different," Ruud said. "It used to be something the wrestling and football players would use, but not so any more. The female sports are heavily involved in it. All the sports are now strength training, agility training. The weight room is so full that it really became an issue to actually having the availability to use it."

The facility, which will have cages to be used for baseball and golf, will be located between the back of the school and the football field.

Ruud stressed the district did not overextend on the project with its finances.

"We have not gone back to the taxpayers for any kind of a taxing authorization for this," he explained. "Part of what we tried to do is live within our means and make sure we could handle those types of things in house."

In 2006, the Facility Advisory Committee reviewed building space needs and determined additional space was needed for fitness classes and athletic use.

A solution to build a field house was considered, but the idea was dropped when survey data revealed a lack of support for a facility that was expected to cost nearly $15 million in 2008.

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