Vote tonight on Lakeside stadium

Work will soon begin to develop a new athletic complex behind Lakeside High School.

Tonight Columbia County commissioners are expected to approve a $3.1 million bid for site preparation for the complex, planned for 70 acres behind the school’s baseball fields.

The Board of Education and the county are sharing the first-phase costs of the project, which would prepare the site for construction, county Construction and Maintenance Division Director Matt Schlachter said at the June 26 public works committee meeting.

The $3.1 million bid item was placed on the commission’s consent agenda.

“This is about $1.7 million less than we had budgeted,” Schlachter said. “We got some really good bids there.”

Phase one includes installation of water, sewer and stormwater systems, building the main road and rough grading of the entire site.

“Phase one is basically us getting the site prepared for future growth,” Schlachter said.

The school system and county are sharing site-preparation expenses. Because each owns 35 acres of the property, each side will be developed separately after the first phase, Schlachter said.

But each will share full use of the complex amenities. The finished complex, originally expected to cost about $12 million, will include:

• A 3,000- to 4,000-seat football stadium and accompanying multipurpose practice field, weight room and fieldhouses.

• Four regulation-sized soccer fields, along with an additional championship soccer field.

• A baseball field and soccer field with batting cages in between

• Track and field accommodations, including an eight-lane track.

• A six-court tennis facility.

• And walking trails and playgrounds.

Site work is expected to begin in August and last about six months, Schlachter said.

Upon its completion, the project will provide a second entrance to the Lakeside complex, with access leading to Evans to Locks Road.

The facility also will connect to county-owned green space that adjoins Reed Creek Nature Center on Furys Ferry Road.

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