An engineer working to design a new parking lot and stadium for Riverside-Brookfield High School is predicting that the new project will result in 30 percent less storm water runoff than the current situation.

“We would be definitely reducing the runoff rate by at least 30 percent, maybe more,” Jason Green told the District 208 school board at its meeting last week. “We’re still going to improve the drainage and reduce the runoff.”

Opponents of the plan to build a new parking lot and move the tennis courts to what is now a field just north of Hollywood School are not convinced. They still are concerned that the building over the green space would result in more flooding in the neighborhood around RBHS.

“So far they haven’t talked at all about the tennis court and parking and runoff at any meeting I’ve gone to,” said Martha Carlson who lives a couple blocks from the school. Carlson said that she did not attend last week’s meeting. “They’ve only talked about how they’re going to handle the runoff from the football field.”

Green, who works for W-T Civil Engineering, and architect Carrie Matlock met last month with officials from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to give them an overview of the project. Green and Matlock said the meeting went well.

“They agreed with our approach in principle,” Green said.

The MWRD has already received letters complaining about the project, Green said.

Green said that the new football field will be allowed under grandfathered rules that do not require a combined storm water detention area. Underground water detention areas were not required when the artificial turf football field was installed in 2006. 

“Following the previous ordinance allows us to be more economical while still reducing the runoff,” Green said. “We will definitely improve the drainage.”

Green told the school board that drainage would be improved by putting in underground retention areas beneath the tennis courts and near the football field. The new football field will be raised four to six inches by adding gravel below the field, which Green said which should result in better drainage.

During heavy rains, water will be held in the retention areas for a time so it does not overload Brookfield’s sewer system. A pump system will move water from underneath the new artificial turf to the retention area. The water would be released into the sewer system when the sewer system is able to handle it.

Green cautioned that the MWRD has not approved anything yet, because the current plans are still preliminary.

“They haven’t agreed to it yet,” Green said. “They want to see full plans.”

The school board and administration have decided to build a new locker room and concession building underneath new aluminum bleachers that will replace the decaying concrete of Shuey Stadium. The locker room building would be a long and narrow structure that would jut out from the both the north and south ends of the bleachers.

By building the new locker room and concession building underneath the bleachers where the current locker rooms are located, the district will avoid having to apply for a special-use permit from the village of Brookfield. They will, however, have to get a special-use permit from Brookfield to build the new parking lot.

The school board also decided not to expand the running track around the football field, sticking with the current six-lane track. Soil borings showed there are significant differences in the thickness in the base below the track. Putting in an additional lane would have required the construction of a whole new track, which would have cost approximately $500,000. 

Staying with the six-lane track means that only limited work must be done to build up the base beneath portions of the track. The track will be resurfaced.

The district plans to begin the process of securing the necessary approvals from the village of Brookfield in the next couple of months and hopes to do much of the work next summer.

Opponents of the project are expected to be out in force and make their voices heard when Brookfield’s Planning and Zoning Commission reviews the final plans next year.