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Published: Sunday, 7/12/2009

Monroe schools are freshened up for fall

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE - Monroe High School students will return to a freshly refinished and brightly painted gymnasium floor when school resumes this fall.

There also is a new look at Navarre Stadium, where the aging bleachers on the home side were demolished because of safety concerns. Temporary, portable bleachers will take their place.

And at Raisinville School, a new and bigger parking area, complete with a separate bus loop, is being installed.

"Raisinville is a big school and only had parking for 30 vehicles and the way buses came in, kids had to run through traffic," Bobb Vergiels, district spokesman, said. "We never had any safety problems, but why tempt fate? We redesigned the parking lot so there will be a separate bus loop to bring kids in."

The work, which is under way, was estimated to cost $235,000 but the bid awarded to Salenbien Trucking and Excavating of Dundee came in at $188,000.

The new parking lot will have 74 spaces. Also to be installed are new lighting and chain-link fencing to separate the parking lot from the play areas.

Mr. Vergiels said the district spent about $35,000 to demolish and clear away the bleachers on the south side of Navarre Stadium.

"They were built in 1950 and at the time they were kind of theCadillac of what bleach-

ers were for high schools," he said.

Monroe High School's football team played there until 1975, when it moved to its current field, he added.

Navarre is now used by St. Mary Catholic Central High School, Monroe Middle School, the Monroe junior football program, and the Southern Michigan Timberwolves, a semipro football team. Mr. Vergiels said an examination by LKL Engineers Ltd. recently concluded that the bleachers were unsafe to use.

Ken Laub, assistant superintendent for business, said the existing bleachers on the north side of the field, which traditionally had been for the visiting team, will be the home bleachers this coming year. A new press box is to be built to replace the one that was demolished along with the bleachers. Fans of the visiting team will be directed to the temporary bleachers to be installed on the south side.

Also this summer, crews are moving playground equipment out of South Monroe Townsite, Lincoln, and Christiancy elementaries, which the board of education voted to close for next school year as part of a budget-cutting plan.

Mr. Vergiels said equipment at South Monroe Townsite is being moved to the former Cantrick Learning Center, which will reopen as an upper elementary this fall.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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