Edwardsville school board to vote on high school wrestling arena
By Aaron Sudholt
Neighbors of Edwardsville High School’s Sports Complex are negotiating with the school district about plans for a new wrestling complex. The school board is set to vote Monday on the $3.5 million center.
Some neighbors in the Sugar Creek and Ginger Creek subdivisions near the site have been worried that the 23,000-square-foot project will increase runoff. Many moved into the area before the high school football field was finished.
The issue was raised during the last school board meeting last week.
Treasurer and Secretary of the Sugar Creek Homeowners Association Mike Vanbeek said the Sports Complex has already caused runoff and damaged roads and basements. The new project, he said, could make the situation worse.
“The subdivision has spent $60,000 on street repairs, some of which is being caused by the overflow from some of the athletic fields,” he said. “It’s our money that’s being spent right now. Just for street repairs we’ve spent $60,000.
Especially of concern is the project’s 130-space parking lot, which could flood Ginger Creek Road, he said.
But Edwardsville schools Superintendent Ed Hightower said the district is taking steps to help the runoff.
The project would include a new seven-foot-deep water detention basin to help alleviate the runoff coming from the sports complex site. Hightower said the district would also consider other options to reduce the project’s impact on its neighbors.
“We will be trying to do what is right for our kids and our neighbors,” Hightower said, adding later, “We will try to behave in ways that benefit our students and, without being redundant, try to understand the concerns of residents of Sugar Creek and Ginger Creek.”
Hightower said Tuesday that the district is also considering ways to protect neighboring homes by reducing the amount of light coming from the complex baseball fields and football fields and was considering a way to separate neighboring homes from the complex itself for improved privacy.
The wrestling complex is funded through a $3.5 million donation from Mark Mestemacher, a partner in Fairmont City-based Ceres Consulting and the head coach of the Edwardsville Wrestling Club.
Mestemacher in 2006 donated $2 million to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for a new wrestling arena, but pulled funding in June over questions about the school’s priorities with athletic teams.
On the high school project, the club will own the parcel until construction is finished in July, when it will be transferred to the school district.
The district will pay for the parking lot and site’s utilities, at a cost of $380,000.
The complex will include four wrestling mats, a locker room, auditorium and offices.
The district is also evaluating building an addition to the building for a 50-meter swimming pool facility. That cost hasn’t been determined. Hightower said that the pool would be constructed through donations.
New Edwardsville High School wrestling complex
Cost: $3.5 million
Size: 23,000 square feet
Approval: Vote set for Monday
Construction: Could start this month and finish in July