Sunday, March 02, 2008

School Board Trustee Responds

Note: This post was originally an e-mail received from Trustee Max Parker in response to last weeks article "To the Board on the Bond". With his permission, I publish it as a stand-alone article, rather than burying it as a "comment" to a week-old article. I struck the opening salutation and some personal communication from Mr. Parker to me, otherwise the body of the text is published without editorial revision. With that cleared up, I give you Mr. Parker's comments.

At no time were we expecting the new Central to have a new stadium. That was what the survey was supposed to convey--no money for a new stadium. I agree that was not clear in the survey, but the athletic facilities to be built at the proposed new campus were made clear in our presentations and literature.

Here's the deal with the field house. Most 4A and 5A high schools have athletic practice facilities on campus. Lakeview does as do the high schools in Abilene, MIdland, Lubbock, and Amarillo. So does ASU which uses our stadium on game days. All these teams can dress and shower and work out without ever leaving their campuses and only use the stadium on game days. But that is not true at Central. Football, track ( mens and womens), soccer (mens and womens), powerlifting, softball and baseball must leave campus to dress, shower, and workout daily. The students and coaches drive to the stadium area or ride a bus to do this. This is a disadvantage time wise and safety wise for our coaches and students. I know for a fact that this split between campus and workout facilities has dissuaded coaches from other cities from considering Central as a prospective coaching job.

When Stormy Kimrey approached the board about raising money for field house renovations a few years ago, his thought was primarily economic --if we had a more modern field house with four full dressing rooms, San Angelo could host more play off games, even two per day with two teams playing in the afternoon and two more waiting in the wings for a night game. But the board had to consider a field house that could be used daily by student athletes also. The board approved an architect to prepare some preliminary plans for a new field house. ( I was not on the board at this time) Since Central did not have facilities on campus for athletics, as mentioned above, the proposed new field house included dressing rooms for football, and for men's and women's track, and mens and womens soccer. It included a weight room for men and women, I think. And it included storage space for equipment, laundry rooms, training room, and offices and meeting rooms for coaches.

Two things slowed things down on the field house: 1.) Stormy's fund raising was not as fruitful as he expected as a fund raiser began for a new library and "large" contributors donated to the library before Stormy could commit them to the stadium. 2.) We proposed a bond issue for a new high school for Central. Had the new high school been built, it would have been constructed like most high schools and had practice facilities on campus and students would have been able to dress and shower and work out on campus. And the field house, then would have become like the field houses at Abilene, Lubbok, Amarillo, Midland, and Odessa ( and like other field houses in most major cities in Texas) and only been used by teams on game days. No weight rooms, offices, laundry rooms, or storage facilities would have been needed at the stadium. Now Central has to store all its football uniforms and equipment at the stadium. The athletes leave their uniforms and equipment in permanent lockers at the field house and all laundry is done at the stadium. Coaches meet, and plan, and watch film in offices at the stadium. If the bond had passed, we would have only needed four dressing rooms and showers for games days to be used by Lakeview, ASU, and Central. We would not have needed separate dressing rooms for men and women for track and soccer as there would have been places for both to dress on game days-- Just a place for the athletes to change clothes, if necessary, on game days. So the new field house would have needed less space if the bond has passed.

So, we waited to see what happened with the bond proposal. If failed, as everyone knows. This fall, the infrastructure began deteriorating more at the field house and we determined that we needed to go forward with renovations now and not wait to see what a new bond proposal might be. I hope this makes this issue more clear to you.

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