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Center Grove adds outdoor locker room

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Center Grove plans to spend more than $400,000 to build a second outdoor locker room at the high school campus.

The new building will be used for soccer and softball players to use to change clothes before and after practices, and the building will be shared with visiting teams during games.

A second outdoor locker room of some type has been on Center Grove’s wish list for years. A building for softball, soccer, lacrosse and cross-country athletes was part of a $142 million proposal in 2009 that was called off due to the economy.

Right now, softball and soccer athletes don’t have a place to change clothes during practices or weekend games, and many of the students change in their cars. Players also don’t have anywhere nearby to go if severe weather approaches during a game or

practice, and that was deemed unsafe during a facilities report by Center Grove schools last year, director of maintenance Dave Statler and Superintendent Richard Arkanoff said.

So Center Grove is building the players a 2,900-square-foot changing facility at the north end of the softball and soccer complex at Center Grove High School.

Center Grove will pay $412,990 for Patterson-Horth Inc. to build the changing facility. That money will come from savings the school district will have by refinancing the bond that paid for the new Maple Grove Elementary School.

Center Grove saved a total of about $1.7 million by refinancing the debt on Maple Grove Elementary. Along with the money paying for the changing facility, $900,000 is being used to purchase iPads for all of the high school students. The rest of the money is being used for short-term security upgrades, such as security cameras and entrance buzzers, until work can begin on long-term renovation projects that are planned at the schools, Arkanoff said.

The new building will have lockers, benches, restrooms and hooks for students’ clothes. The building will have room for 100 people and be split into two separate sections, meaning it can be used by boys and girls teams as well as home and away teams, Statler said.

“This has been a concept for several years, and it was a safety concern that was identified during the facilities study. The board was in support of creating this protection for our students,” Statler said.

The school board unanimously approved building the changing facility, which is expected to be built and ready to use by October.

In 2005, the school built an outdoor locker room for the football team.

The school district is also planning other construction projects.

Earlier this year the school board approved a total of $42 million in renovations at Center Grove High School, Center Grove Elementary and North Grove Elementary. The school district also is making security upgrades at other buildings, including constructing more secure entrances at the two middle schools and Pleasant Grove and Sugar Grove Elementary School.

School officials are deciding how to borrow the money for those projects and not increase the rate taxpayers pay for debt. Construction should begin next spring.

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