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U-46 vote clears hurdle for BHS sports complex

By Seth Hancock
  Work can now begin on a sports complex at Bartlett High School after the Board of Education in School District U-46 approved by a 7-0 vote a $1.6 million proposal for the first phase of the project at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 16.
  The work will be done by L.J. Morse Construction Company and will go towards bleachers, a press box and stadium lights. The completion date is set for May 11, 2018 meaning the Bartlett Hawks athletics programs, including varsity football and soccer, can start hosting games on campus instead of at Millennium Field in Streamwood where they have been hosting games since the school’s opening two decades ago.
  Funding will largely come from private donations collected by the Bartlett Boosters Club which submitted a check for $925,000, but the rest will come from the district’s operations and maintenance fund as well as debt certificates from Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB).
  For George Kantzavelos, the Bartlett booster’s director of the activity complex, the approval was a big deal after the years of work put in to bring this to fruition.
  “Other than the marriage to my wife and the birth of my three children, yesterday’s vote was one of the proudest moments in my life,” Kantzavelos told The Examiner after the vote. “We have been working on this since 2011, and to know that within the next week we could see bulldozers at our school is overwhelming.”
  Kantzavelos thanked the board for the approval as well as Jeff King, chief operations officer, and Chris Allen, director of plant operations, for their work from the district level as well as Mike Demovsky, Bartlett’s principal, and Jeff Bral, Bartlett’s athletics director, for their “full support.” He also thanked several individuals from the boosters.
  “Members of the Activity Complex Board Valerie Salmons, who was instrumental in securing key donations, and our advisors Seth Lewis and [Village President Kevin] Wallace for all the work they put in. The BHS Booster Club for voting to move ahead with this project. Of course our donors, who without them we would never have a place we could call home. Thank you all,” Kantzavelos said.
  There will be three more phases estimated to cost $1 million each according to Kantzavelos and will include concession stands and a gated entrance in the second phase, locker rooms for the third and a turf field for the fourth with the hope “to have this completed by the 2020 season.”
  “Our efforts will not stop today,” Kantzavelos said. “We actually have a meeting set up for two weeks from now with another major donor. We are raising funds for phase two and three.”
  The Hawks football team has already had a taste of playing at home hosting its homecoming game last year on the field after securing a donation from the Bartlett Rotary Club for a scoreboard. Both the boys and girls soccer teams have also played on the field.
  Casey Pearce, a Bartlett senior and the U-46 board’s student advisor, said prior to the vote: “It won’t be done in my time, which is unfortunate, but my sister will go here soon. I think it will be really exciting to see what the final product looks like.”
  The expected amount to come from QZAB is $466,270 which is expected to be paid back by the Bartlett boosters. Board member Melissa Owens asked if there were details on the bonds to which King said “my hope is the next board meeting you will be seeing it.”
  “We were trying to get some of this project completed before winter broke. Had we waited until November, we wouldn’t be able to do that,” King said.
  Owens said she was uncomfortable with the vote without further detail on the bonds but voted for the project because of the work already put in by the boosters.
  Board member Jeanette Ward clarified that essentially “we are like the cosigner” as the boosters will pay the debt back, and Allen said that was correct.
  Also receiving unanimous approval by the board on Oct. 16 was $4.5 million in itemized bills and a $66,339 proposal with Heartland Business Systems, which will come out of the education fund, for 315 computers.



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