CL South Fans May Get to Use Bleachers- For Now; Legal Battle Continues

Crystal Lake South High School football fans may get a chance to use the new $1.18 million bleachers this season, but the battle between the city and District 155 over the new stadium continues.

View of the new bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School from Amberwood Drive in Crystal Lake.
View of the new bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School from Amberwood Drive in Crystal Lake.

When football season begins for Crystal Lake South High School on Aug. 30, fans may get to sit in the new $1.18 million bleachers - for this year anyway.

Attorneys for Community High School District 155 and the city of Crystal Lake met in court Friday morning, and city attorneys agreed to "stay" - or temporarily delay - its stop work order while court proceedings continue over the matter.

"We are not willing to let the students, the athletes and the supporters get caught in the middle of this," Crystal Lake attorney Justin Hansen said.

However, if District 155 moves forward and completes work on the stadium, it does so at its own risk, Hansen said.

"The city still maintains we have zoning authority over this piece of property," Hansen said. "We think (District 155) should have participated in the city's zoning process six months ago, and given the neighbors a chance to speak. That would have prevented all of this."

District 155 officials maintain they did not need city approval for the project, and insist they are governed by the McHenry County Regional Superintendent of Schools.

However, Crystal Lake officials argue District 155 has a history of participating in the city's zoning process. The school district has obtained 26 permits over the past 25 years from the city, they said.

The city also agreed to not impose the $1,000 per day fine for violating the stop-work order.

District 155 attorney Robert Swain told McHenry County Judge Thomas Meyer about five days worth of construction work is needed to complete the stadium, which will seat up to 3,900 spectators in both the Home and Visitors section. Safety railings need to be installed on the top of the bleachers, and walkways need to be finished, he said.

Including the new press box, the bleachers rise 51 feet, and are set 41 feet from the neighboring property lines.

Judge Meyer said he had concerns about leaving the bleachers in an unfinished state, as well as concerns about spectators using the stadium if the city's building and zoning department hadn't inspected the final work.

School officials said building inspectors from McHenry County would be brought in to confirm the bleachers' safety since the county is affiliated with the Regional Superintendent of Schools office.

The two sides meet again at 9:15 a.m. Friday, 23, before Judge Michael Chmiel.

The Gators first home game is Friday, Aug. 30.


District 155 Extends Court Battle to Include City of Crystal Lake, Regional Superintendent

CL South Neighbors File Lawsuit Against District 155; Football Season in Flux

District 155 Installs Massive New Bleachers at CL South High School Without City Approval

'Battle of the Bleachers' Continues Between District 155 and City of Crystal Lake 

CL Mayor Asks District 155 to Stop Work on Bleachers and Obtain Zoning Approval

Stop Work Order from City to District 155 for CL South Bleachers

Concerned Citizen August 17, 2013 at 10:27 AM
To all of the citizens of Crystal Lake, I guess none of you need permits anymore. If the school, that we as taxpayers are paying for, can build this obnoxious site, why should be need a permit for anything smaller? I wonder how much money "we" all lost, because they side stepped a permit! What happens if there is an accident? Will "we" have to pickup the pieces and the tab? I think not! The city taxes us and permits us to death, yet, as usual, money talks, doesn't it?
michael rothstein August 17, 2013 at 10:57 AM
In my opinion, it is obvious why the school district did not apply for the permits. In this time of financial hardship, spending over 1 million dollars on football bleachers is outrageous, and I doubt would have been very popular with the taxpayers. We have recently moved here from Libertyville. The highschool there wanted artificial turf and a new clubhouse. The monies were raised by private donations, gifts and fundraisers!
Kim G. August 17, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Ted Wagner has never been in “the kid business”. He runs the school board arrogantly and without any compassion. He is misspending millions of $$ in my opinion on these hideous bleachers when the kids of D155 desperately need new books and other more important things than stadium size bleachers.
Ronald Saur Jr August 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Maybe we can start parking RV's in our own yards too.
Screech September 26, 2013 at 03:00 PM
District 155 now consumes almost one-fourth of my already insanely high property tax bill. Its 2.5% tax rate is second only to District 47. And I shudder to think how much District 155 is going to be demanding YET MORE so the property tax payers can pay for this ridiculous stadium and all the lawyers' fees fighting against something that SHOULD have gone to a referendum. This is a ridiculous waste of money at a time when so many people are struggling just to stay above water. I have a student at CLS and this enrages me.


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