MIDDLEBURY — The days of sharing athletic facilities will soon be over at Northridge High School. Following its second public meeting Tuesday, the Middlebury Community Schools Board of Education voted to move forward with the $15 million plan to build new outdoor facilities, which will include a new football and track stadium and a baseball and softball complex.

The vote for both the preliminary determination and project resolution passed unanimously 5-0.

“We’re very excited,” Superintendent Jane Allen said. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to use the facilities they deserve.”

Construction on the lot north of NHS is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2019 and will be complete in the fall of 2020.

Allen said the facilities will benefit more than 700 students, who will use the complex for physical education classes, athletics and marching band activities. Each of the new proposed facilities would have artificial turf, which board president Joanna King said is long overdue when comparing to other schools in the area.

“We’re one of the last school corporations to go in the direction of turf on our fields. We waited because we wanted to make sure we (could) do it financially,” she said at last Friday’s meeting.

Keeping below the 2014 school tax rate was important for the school board when considering the plan for the new facilities. That rate is $1.33 per $100 of assessed valuation.

“The thing I’m encouraged about is we’re not bumping up the tax rate,” King said. “That is very important to me. It shows we are being very fiscally conservative with the dollars that we are given … this board understands that.”

Now that the vote has passed, there will be a 30-day waiting period to give the community a chance to oppose the decision. If 500 signatures are gathered before Feb. 8, the board will reconvene, but as of Tuesday’s meeting there hasn’t been any voiced opposition, Allen said.

“So far, all we’ve heard from the community is ‘It’s about time.’”

Ben Mikesell can be reached at ben.mikesell@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 328. Follow him on Twitter at @ben_mikesell.

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