New fieldhouse and weight room facilities could be completed and ready for use by this time next year, superintendent Jim Smith said at Wednesday’s Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education meeting.
The fieldhouse will be located inside the new soccer/track complex at the high school/middle school location and the weight room will be located where basketball courts currently stand on the back side of the school.
The dream timeline for the projects, Smith said, would be to put the facilities out for bid in December or January, have construction start in March, “and perhaps be in these buildings and using them this time next year.”
“This is going to be a really special place and we’re going to be the only school in this area that has something like this,” Smith said.
The superintendent said school officials met this week with a design team to talk about what could be placed in the various rooms in each building. He said the buildings will be used for more than just extracurricular activities, with one possibility being that they could be utilized during standardized testing, and that they would be of use to every sport.
He said school officials also discussed the need for a training room somewhere in the facilities. He said it would likely be located somewhere inside the new training area because it needs to be close to where competition takes place. He said the possibility of placing it in the bottom of the press box was discussed, but the press box does not have water and other amenities that would be necessary.
Several renovations have already been made at Richards Memorial Field on the former school campus off West Main Street. Smith said former gravel areas around the field, primarily in front of the home and visitor bleachers, have been paved. He also said new paving walls have been constructed in front of the home bleachers. He said those areas were back-filled with stone and then covered with mulch.
A new sound system was also installed this week at Richards Memorial Field and fence guides will be placed on top of the fence from the end of the home bleachers to the field entrance on the visitor’s side of the field. Smith said the fence guides will hopefully be in place by the first home regular season football game.
On another topic, Smith said work on the digital sign near the new high school/middle school entrance is supposed to start this week.
Transportation supervisor Ron Ward said that besides a couple minor issues, things ran smooth for his department through the first eight days of school. Students are being dismissed an hour early from school on Wednesdays this year while teachers do in-service work. Wednesday was the first day for kindergarten students to be dismissed early and Ward said a few parents forgot, but they were able to pick their children up at the bus garage.
Ward said there have been some minor issues with buses departing the elementary school four to five minutes late, “but that’s OK because I’d rather get the right kids on the right bus.”
The exact number of students transported has not been counted this year, but Ward said that last year the school district transported about 1,650 students every morning and 1,800 to 1,850 students each afternoon. He said the district has 24 regular bus routes each day, plus three “minivan” routes each morning and afternoon. One route sees one student transported back and forth to Columbus each day, which equates to a 410-mile route each day.
During the public participation part of the meeting, parent Tara Decker said she spent 90 minutes helping her fifth-grade son with math homework Wednesday prior to the board meeting, and that they hadn’t started on other homework.
“We’ll have the teacher call you and hopefully we can get some communication going and make it better,” Smith said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.