MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Community Schools has cleared its final hurdle to move forward with plans to build a $15 million outdoor sports complex at Northridge High School. 

The school board passed plans to move forward with the proposed project at its Jan. 8 meeting. Afterward, petitioners were given a month to oppose this decision for which a total of 500 signatures were needed.

Superintendent Jane Allen confirmed Monday evening that the project received no objections from the community.

“We received the certificate of no objection from the auditor’s office (Monday),” Allen said in an email. “That means the project will go through as planned.”

Plans for the new sports complex were introduced by Northridge Athletics on Twitter in August.

The project includes plans for constructing a new stadium designed for football and track and field, a new baseball complex and a new softball complex.

In addition, the project will include the construction of a centrally located building that features locker rooms, public restrooms, a concessions stand, a multipurpose room for meetings and an athletic training room.

Currently, Northridge High School and Northridge Middle School share one set of athletics facilities and a gymnasium, resulting in space constraints, officials said. The proposed plan would alleviate that by allowing the high school to have a separate facility for events.

The former Northridge High School building, which is now the middle school, opened in 1969 when Middlebury and Jefferson high schools were consolidated.

The school district’s sports complex hasn’t had an update in 30 years. The football stadium was built in 1974 and the last facility to be built was the softball/baseball complex in 1988.

Allen said the new facility would benefit more than 700 students – 331 athletes, 265 students and 127 marching band students.

The high school football team currently practices on the lawn of the high school. All high school football, softball, baseball, and track and field athletes have to travel to facilities at the middle school, she said. Additionally, junior varsity baseball and softball games are played at the Middlebury Little League Diamonds.

All NHS physical education classes, Allen said, have to walk to the middle school to use the track and ball diamonds. The NHS marching band practices on the high school parking lot and uses the football field only during football half-times and for one community performance, Allen said.

The new facilities would be built on land north of the Northridge High School parking lot, property the district already owns, according to Jeff Palmer, director of buildings and grounds at the school corporation.

The project is projected to cost $15 million and could be managed without increasing the tax rate above the 2014 certified tax rate, Allen said.

Allen said the district has proposed to raise the funds through the sale of bonds and structuring the debt to reflect the payment of existing debt.

The project is expected to begin in this summer and completed by the fall of 2020.

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