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WJBD - Local News - Centralia High School Trying To Convince State Evers Football Stadium Is Still Safe to Use

Centralia High School Trying To Convince State Evers Football Stadium Is Still Safe to Use

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The State of Illinois doesn't want Centralia High School to continue to use the Evers Field football stadium in its current condition.  He says the district is eventually facing major renovation or building a new stadium on the new high school campus.

Superintendent Chuck Lane says for now the district is in the process of producing evidence that the stadium structure is safe.  "We feel there are a few things that need to be addressed before we occupy it, but it is not my opinion there is any safety danger.  Are there issues?  Absolutely.  There are several health life safety issues that need to be addressed if we are going to use it going forward because in our new life safety audit we are going to have to bring it up to current code.  If anyone has been in that building, you know it is far away from current code.  Is it unsafe?  No.  Is there going to be a lot of money spent to bring it up to code? Absolutely," said Lane.  "We're trying to work with the state to try and say we'll fix whatever you ask us to fix, but if you're going to talk about major stuff you're going to have to give us some time to look at it and involve the community."   

Lane is proposing a refinancing of the bonds that paid for the construction of the new high school that could result in excess of one million dollars being available for construction projects.   Lane notes a new football stadium at the new campus was part of the original plan, but had to be cut because money was not available. 

"Let's refinance the bonds and then we'll decide with the community what they want us to do.  Do they want us to pour money into that facility down at Evers Field in the old facility or do you want us to look at bringing something new here.  What is it that you want us guys to do?  We'll involve the community in that," said Lane.  "But again, that is an older building down there that we are going to have a spend a lot on repairs or we're going to have to try and make it work up here on our current campus."

Board member D.K. Klein also wants the board to look at the option of using the money saved on the restructuring to lower property tax rates.  

The board has set a special meeting for five pm on Thursday, July 11th, to consider options on refinancing the bonds. Lane says timing is now important since interest rates appear to be headed up that would cut down on the money the district could save or put towards other projects with the refinancing.     

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