BICKNELL — North Knox this summer will move forward with construction of an estimated $1 million multi-purpose sports facility to be located adjacent to the auxiliary gymnasium outside the junior-senior high school.
Superintendent Darrell Bobe said the school board this week offered its blessing for him to go ahead and seek bids on the proposed 14,000-square-foot facility, which he said will largely be targeted towards members of both the baseball and softball teams but will be made available to anyone for a variety of uses.
“We'll have batting cages in there for our baseball and softball teams,” Bobe said. “But they'll be on motors, and the netting can be raised up into the ceiling so our football team can use it, too.
“It will be heated. Our bocce ball team will be able to use it for practice. We're all just really excited about this.”
Bobe said when it comes to making improvements associated with sporting facilities, he tries to “move his way around.”
In recent years, the school corporation has made significant improvements to both the football and soccer fields and even built the auxiliary gym in 2015.
The corporation also recently resurfaced the basketball court.
“But I haven't done anything for baseball or softball in a while,” he said. “My original thought was that I would put up batting cages, but as I thought about it, and as I looked around at other facilities, I saw an opportunity to do even more.
By raising those nets, we can have one open building.
“So I thought, 'Hey, I can get a lot more out of this, and it would be better money spent.'”
The multi-purpose facility will have football-style turf, Bobe said, and be heated so students, too, would be able to use it for physical education classes in the colder months.
Even the band, he said, could use it to practice.
“It's just going to give us a lot more options,” he said. “A lot more people other than those who play softball and baseball will be able to use it.”
Bobe said now, with the board's blessing, he will seek bids immediately on the project; a design has been done already.
Bobe said he should have bids for the board to consider when it meets again on March 11. He hopes to award a contract then, he said, and see work begin in April.
He anticipates completion by November.
And while numbers are still very much up in the air, he estimates it will cost upwards of $900,000.
Bobe said he will use money set aside from a $2 million bond sale done in 2017 for this project.
The school board also, Bobe said, opted to put off another big project, which was to replace the flooring at the junior-senior high school.
That project was slated for this summer as well, he said, but they've opted to move forward with painting all the interior walls instead.
“So we're going to put the floors off a year,” he said. “We'll paint all the rooms first then push new flooring to 2021.”
And in other business, the school board approved having this year's prom off site at the Great Bankquet Hall in Vincennes.