Brookfield Board of Education member Derek Mihalcin said he has been to Nicholas Field, the Brookfield High School football stadium on Addison Road, many times, but had not really seen it until he took a recent tour with Superintendent Toby Gibson and Director of Maintenance Randy Clark, who also is the football coach.

“It was a big eye opener for me,” Mihalcin said.

He saw a visitor’s locker room with tarps on the ceiling to prevent rust and pieces of metal roof from falling onto visiting players and coaches. He saw a visitor’s press box that had holes in the metal roof, rotting roof support beams and rotting floor. He saw water draining under the building, but not coming out anywhere, He saw outdated concession stands.

“This is beyond, more than cosmetic,” said school board member Melissa Sydlowski, who did not tour the stadium with Mihalcin. “This has become a safety (issue).”

As the school moves toward Supt. Toby Gibson’s goal of having all athletic events at the school’s campus, board members said the move is not one of preference, but of necessity.

“We realized how bad that facility is,” Mihalcin said. “I know it’s historical and to move from there is probably not gonna be popular for some. There’s probably very few people in our community that love that facility, that love that field, more than Randy (Clark). For Randy to say, ‘This is too much. It’s time to go,’ that should tell you all you need to know.”

Mihalcin said he can’t see any value in renovating Nicholas Field.

“At this point, moving, doing something new and doing it right, having all new stuff and everything, it’s not a want, it’s a need,” he said. “We have to do it because of the conditions of that place.”

School officials have a sense of urgency about the project. School board member Jerry Necastro said he would want a safety evaluation performed at Nicholas Field if they can’t get the school field, where soccer has been played for the last several years, ready for the upcoming football season.

“I have no idea if that’s safe,” he said.

The board on Jan. 17 hired Team 8e architecture LLC of Canfield to assess the school campus stadium and come up with a plan to make it football ready.

To a certain extent, Gibson and Clark already had been looking into what that entails, said district Treasurer Jordan Weber.

“He’s gonna take a lot of that, kind of get a better objective look at it,” Weber said of Team 8e’s Tom Madej. “He’s gonna kind of step in now, advise us on the best path to take forward. I think at the end of the day what was happening is we were talking to a lot of salesmen. Now, we kind of have an intermediary to say, ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ things like that. That gives us the best picture by which we can start getting a finite price tag.”

Team 8e will be paid 6 percent of the project cost, Weber said. The company’s website said it has been involved in stadium projects in Boardman, Toronto and Hudson.

Madej understands “August, September is not very far away,” Weber said. “He’s been working very closely with Toby and Randy, just trying to map out what is the biggest priority.”

Although Gibson said he also wants baseball and softball to be played on the school campus, the priority is to get football games there first.

“What we’re using isn’t in dire straits,” he said of the baseball and softball fields at Brookfield Township Community Park.

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