By Bob Skolnik
When students return to class next week at Riverside-Brookfield High School, they will notice some changes. Five new tennis courts, a new parking lot and an extensive roof replacement will greet returning students and teachers.
And in welcome news for some community members, the high school's track is finally open to the public after being closed since the renovated football stadium and outdoor running track opened about 18 months ago.
The track was closed to the public during construction and during the legal battle with the village of Brookfield over the school's desire to build the new parking lot. The school and village reached a settlement last year, allowing construction of a smaller parking lot and tennis courts this summer.
"The finishing touches are being addressed over the next week to the final phase of the Kennelly Athletic Complex, and I am excited for the students and communities that RB serves," said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis in an email. "The Board of Education and I want to thank all of the stakeholders for their patience while the settlement and work was completed."
It cost about $430,000 to build the new parking lot and tennis courts, plus many thousands more in legal fees during the legal battle with the village of Brookfield.
The track is now open to the public from dawn to dusk when it is not being used for school activities. Those who want to use the track should enter the stadium through the turnstile in the southwest corner of the stadium. Bicycle riding, rollerblading, skateboarding, smoking and drinking are not allowed on the track or in the stadium.
The biggest expense this summer was roof work. About 60,000 square feet of roof was replaced at a cost of just over $2 million. Except for one or two sections of the roof yet to be done, the entire roof of the school has been replaced since the renovation of the school began in 2006.