The city school district will unveil final plans for the Martin Road sports fields project at a public information meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in Jefferson Middle School.
Superintendent Raymond Fashano is hoping for a large audience to discuss the site's future. "It's hard to explain verbally because there has been some moving around of fields. But, we think it's a good design, we think it's good for kids, we think it's good for the area, and hopefully, it will be well-received by everyone," Fashano said Tuesday.
It hasn't been well-received by some neighbors. The 60-acre location has been the focus of two lawsuits by residents who feel it's not the best site for such a complex.
According to Fashano, the final model excludes the previously proposed bus garage. With that, he said the district is close to reaching an agreement with the city to lease the former municipal bus garage on Third Street.
"So far, everything seems to be positive from the mayor's office. It's going to a City Council work session this week, with final determination in the very near future," he said.
Architect Rod Drake of Habiterra Associates will present the final plan Thursday night. Drake said the absence of the bus garage allows more room for more fields.
"What we've done is based on what the athletic department has indicated that's necessary for them to conduct their sports programs. We've got two baseball fields, two softball fields, and five soccer fields at the facility at this point," he said.
The new plans, added Drake, call for a 10-acre buffer area along Martin Road that will be used as a science area and arboretum.
"The revised facility includes an area, a wide area, along Martin Road that will be basically left alone, or will be a walking path with some trees, and that will move all the athletic fields quite a ways away from Martin Road," he said.
Drake said the School Board is expected to act on the proposal at its next regular meeting. It will be shortly after that before cost estimates will be developed. Actual construction, though, will be pending the outcome of the two lawsuits.