NAPOLEON — At the May meeting of the Napoleon Area Board of Education, business manager Cory Niekamp gave a rundown of projects in the district scheduled to take place this summer. With the calendar closing in on July, Niekamp and superintendent Erik Belcher gave a brief update on those projects on Friday.
Said Niekamp at the May board meeting: “You’re going to see a lot of equipment and a lot of people at work around here this summer, that’s for sure.”
Niekamp shared the following school facility summer projects have started or will take place:
• Clairmont Avenue replacement project, currently underway by Hohenbrink Excavating of Findlay, expected to be completed by Aug. 1 at a cost of $308,667. Once constructed, the school will dedicate it to the city of Napoleon, and the city will reimburse the district $50,000 per year for the next three years. This project is taking place where Goodville Mutual Casualty Group, New Holland, Pa., is building a 28-home subdivision.
• Westmoreland Avenue parking lot improvement study by Mannik Smith Group of Toledo at a cost of $15,500.
• Construction of a kickball/softball/baseball field at Napoleon Elementary, which is near completion.
• Placing stone at various places on campus at a cost of $6,555.
• Tree (autumn blaze maple trees) and bench installation on Briarheath Avenue and the tennis court area, at a cost of $17,848.
• Drainage work at Napoleon Junior/Senior High School, and at Charles Buckenmeyer Stadium, by J.A. Hillis Excavating of Napoleon (continuation of a project from the fall, currently taking place).
• An outside cafeteria patio, with picnic tables, to be built at Napoleon Junior/Senior High School at a cost of $16,500 (paid for through donations).
Belcher explained the traffic study is taking place to help the district find solutions for problems at Napoleon Elementary, by the baseball and softball fields on Westmoreland Avenue, and at Buckenmeyer Stadium.
In addition, Belcher shared the new kickball field at Napoleon Elementary could help solve some of the issues.
“One of the problems we have at the elementary school is when buses leave the school to go to the high school, they have to turn left on to Westmoreland Avenue, which isn’t the safest way to do things,” said Belcher. “The traffic study will give us ideas on ways for that to be better and more safe.
“Another problem we hope to solve in the future is limited parking at the elementary school, and coming up with safer parking solutions at the baseball and softball fields,” continued Belcher. “There is not enough parking at the elementary, and we have to find safer parking at the fields, so people are not parking by the road.”
One possible solution, according to Belcher, would be for the softball program to use the kickball/softball/baseball field at Napoleon Elementary for practice, and for the current practice softball field to be leveled and made into parking. Niekamp shared if that happens, that could mean an extra 140 parking spots.
Those spots, located behind Buckenmeyer Stadium would help to alleviate parking issues for baseball and softball, and help with parking for football and soccer. They could also be used for extra parking for the elementary school, with a crosswalk put in for safety.
“Our options are to add parking at the elementary, or to add parking where the practice softball field is now, we don’t have the money to do both,” said Niekamp. “The big goal is to reduce parking by Westmoreland Avenue for baseball and softball, to have extra parking near the elementary, and make it as safe as it possibly can be.”
Although benches on Briarheath Avenue and at the tennis courts have not been placed as of yet, that will take place soon, as will construction of the 20- x 30-feet concrete outdoor cafeteria area, which will seat about 40. The planting of the trees along Briarheath Avenue, near the football practice field, has taken place.
“The benefit of the trees won’t show up for a while, but we’re thinking of this in the long term,” said Niekamp. “There is no shade out at that practice field, but that will change in time and be a big benefit.”
Said Belcher: “We’re looking forward to getting these projects done this summer, and being ready when school begins in the fall.”