Ground broken on new HNHS multi-purpose outdoor facility

Ground broken on new HNHS multi-purpose outdoor facility
Posted on 05/28/2021
Ground was broke for Huntington North's new multi-purpose outdoor facility on ThursdayGround was officially broken for the new Huntington North High School multi-purpose outdoor facility on Thursday night. The facility will host the Vikings’ football, boys and girls soccer and boys and girls track and field teams and will also be used by Huntington North’s band, JROTC and physical education classes.

The new facility will be located on Huntington North’s campus near the east end of the field house, allowing for easy year-round access and the ability to use it during the school day. The facility will feature an artificial turf surface, giving flexibility for usage and requiring less man hours for maintenance and upkeep. A nine-lane latex track will be installed for use by the Vikings’ track teams. The facility will also feature LED lighting, new home bleachers to seat 2,500 fans, a new one-level press box and a new scoreboard and sound system. A free-standing section of brand new bleachers will provide seating for 450 fans on the visitors’ side of the stadium.

Two outdoor buildings will also be part of the project. The buildings will house locker room facilities, restrooms and concessions. The first building, situated on the east side of the facility, will host both home and visitor locker room facilities, restrooms and storage. The home locker room will feature 100 new locker units, while the visiting locker room will feature 50 locker units repurposed from Salamonie School. The second building, situated to the west of the facility, will feature additional restrooms, concessions, an electrical room and storage.

A gated entrance with ticket booths will be featured at the entrance of the facility, highlighted by a metal archway with the Vikings’ name and logo proudly displayed. First Federal Savings Bank of Huntington is sponsoring the front entrance of the stadium. Meanwhile, Bippus State Bank of Huntington will be the sole sponsor of the stadium’s scoreboard.

In addition to hosting Huntington North athletic events, the facility will offer the opportunity to host band competitions, community events and high school athletics postseason tournaments.

The facility will be situated with a northwest-southeast orientation. As part of the construction, a new softball field will be built near the intersection of Viking Lane and State Road 5. The new softball facility will feature bleachers for 400 fans, a press box, 60-foot dugouts with storage at the end of each, a batting cage and 8-foot fencing. The softball field will be named Teachers Credit Union Field, as the HCCSC Board of School Trustees approved a 10-year, $125,000 naming-rights contract on May 24.

Originally planned to be built to the east of the existing softball field, the project needed to be relocated closer to the field house to avoid a gas line. A regulation-sized grass practice football field will be added between the stadium and new softball facility.

The new facility will offer structural safety and stability and will meet the requirements for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, something Kriegbaum Field can no longer offer.

Kriegbaum Field, originally built in 1929, has become a failing facility in multiple areas, causing health and safety concerns for athletes and fans alike.

The bleachers at Kriegbaum Field do not meet the ADA compliance standards and are a safety hazard for fans. The bleacher steps at Kriegbaum Field have caused a number of falls due to their 12-inch height. The visiting locker room at Kriegbaum Field features a crack in the structure that allows for water to drip into the locker room, while leaks in the roof and windows in the home locker room have caused water damage. The locker rooms also lack proper ventilation, leading to a bad smell throughout the locker room facilities. Additionally, the playing surface does not cater to soccer, as the field is not wide enough to hold a regulation-size soccer field.

Kriegbaum Field’s location also poses issues, as a lack of parking and the need to cross a state highway are an additional safety concern. Additionally, the facility is not accessible during the school day for Huntington North classes.

The new facility project will operate on an estimated $7.5 million budget. HCCSC will continue the recognition of the Kriegbaum name as part of the new facility.

Funding for the project comes from a bond received in 2018. The bond helped HCCSC construct the new Roanoke Elementary School building and has also assisted with funding for the Huntington County Community Learning Center’s expansion project as well as Huntington North’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades. There will not be any new taxes to help fund the facility project.

Discussions for the new facility began in the fall of 2018, with board members, HCCSC administrators and Huntington North administrators visiting nine other high schools in northeast Indiana to view similar facilities.

Construction for the project began in May and is projected to be completed late this November.
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