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A view from the bleachers at the new La Salle-Peru Township High School athletic complex track in LaSalle shows that construction is progressing. The $4.8 million facility should be completed by October.
The construction of La Salle-Peru High School’s new $4.8 million athletic facility continues to make progress this summer.
However, the facility — which includes tennis courts as well as a grass soccer practice field and a grass game field — will not be ready by the first day of fall sports practices Aug. 14 and likely won’t be completed by the start of athletic contests in late August.
L-P athletic director D’Wayne Bates said Wednesday that construction of the facility started nearly 3-4 weeks late due to the spring’s flood and that the hopeful completion date for the tennis courts and soccer fields are — as long as weather cooperates — sometime at the end of August or the beginning of September.
“We had a set back in the beginning with the flood in April and that really put the whole project back,” Bates said, “but in our last update probably three weeks ago, they seem to be making up ground. It just depends on how the rest of the summer goes because rain eliminates any possibility to work. I think just looking at it and from where we are right now, we are making pretty good progress.”
While girls tennis and boys soccer will be unable to use their new facilities from the start at the L-P athletic complex — which is located off Chartres St. in north La Salle — Bates says once the facilities are completed girls tennis and boys soccer will use their facilities immediately.
Bates hopes that at least half or a third of their seasons will be held at the new complex.
“The day Vissering (Construction) calls the superintendent to give us the green light, the next day we will be out here,” he said.
Bates says the entire L-P complex — which also includes an eight-lane all-weather track — is on pace to be finished in late September or early October, which means boys and girls track and field, boys tennis and girls soccer — which will be a new varsity sport next spring — will all compete at the facility.
“We don’t want to rush it,” he said. “We want to finish it with great quality so it lasts forever as opposed to rushing to start this fall. We do hope our fall teams get an opportunity to compete (at the L-P athletic complex), even if it’s not for the full season.”
The L-P athletic complex — which was officially approved in March and broke ground in April — cost $3.8 million to build and then another $1 million to do the surfacing for the track and tennis courts for the $4.8 million total cost, which is approximately $1 million under the original projected budget, according to L-P. After water and sewer lines were laid earlier this summer, the track is currently taking shape, stands for the track are being built and light poles for the entire complex have been put in place.
“We are very proud of the fact that we are going to have a new facility,” Bates said. “Ideally, like I said, we wish we could start Aug. 14, but the day they are finished this facility will still be a benefit to our athletic program. I’m just really excited and it’s going to help us build championship programs. That’s what great facilities allow.”
Bates says the new L-P complex will not play host to IHSA postseason events this school year, but added that he does hope to play host to postseason tournaments in the future.
“It’s in the works,” he said. “I do want to go through one year with the coaches so we can see how we can handle it on our own and what personnel we will need because when you start hosting stuff you’ve got to make sure you have the correct personnel, see how many people you can hold and if it’s going to be feasible.”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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