Members of the Chagrin Falls Board of Education discussed concerns surrounding the two possible sites for new tennis courts at a recent meeting, and ultimately moved forward with the continued investigation of both sites with a decision on either one in two weeks.

BOE members reviewed the project progress at their Jan. 8 meeting and received updates from Ryan Schmit of ThenDesign Architecture, who is heading the project. Mr. Schmit said that the survey work for both sites has been completed as well as soil borings, which will be used to determine geotechnical needs and costs for both sites.

Mr. Schmit explained a few of the changes that arose after surveying the sites, as well as the number of parking spaces that would be lost with each site.

At the site in front of the middle school, he said a retaining wall would be needed on the northwest corner of the courts. He added that he has high hopes for the stability of the soil at the site, since it had been used as a staging site during other construction projects at the campus. The middle school location would remove 40 parking spaces from the adjacent parking lot, according to Mr. Schmit.

As for replacing the courts where they had been formally, Mr. Schmit said one driveway of the parking lot in front of the high school would need to be moved in order to accommodate the tennis courts, and about 60 student parking spaces would be lost. Superintendent Robert Hunt added that replacing the tennis courts would include making changes to the parking lot that was put in only a year ago.

“Total project cost – this is what we figured before – was about the $500,000 mark,” Mr. Schmit said of building the tennis courts at a new site in front of the middle school. He added that returning the courts to their original site would cost about $80,000 less.

“There’s pretty significant pros and cons for each location,” Mr. Schmit added. “You have a tight site, you have a lot of topography, you have a lot of moving parts and you have a lot of student cars and it’s how you deal with all those things and kind of where those priorities lie. I can’t answer that question for you.”

Mr. Schmit recommended that if the board had any thoughts about moving forward with just one site, they should make that decision immediately. Several board members expressed that they weren’t completely sure about either site and wanted more information.

“I think it’s really fiscally important for us to look at both locations,” board member Kathryn Garvey said. “I also remember my realtors telling me you don’t want to fall in love with just one house, you want to fall in love with two houses because you want to have some flexibility there in case something were to happen.”

The board also requested that Mr. Schmit explore how the traffic patterns at the campus would be affected and ways to mitigate traffic issues with either site.

Mrs. Garvey asked Mr. Schmit if delaying a decision until after receiving geotechnical information, traffic pattern information and further estimations on the cost would put the project back too much. Mr. Schmit explained that with either site, the project wouldn’t move forward anyway until that information was received. The board concluded that they would make a decision about which site to move forward with once they had further information in about two weeks, according to Mr. Schmit’s estimate.

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