Board hears facilities update

At a called meeting Monday afternoon, the Jeff Davis County Board of Education heard an update from School Superintendent Chris Roppe on plans for athletic fields and renovation of the 20-year-old Jeff Davis High School.
Roppe said he was looking for answers on whether or not the school system should begin working on land recently cleared next to the high school football stadium, or hold up on work until it becomes clear what the renovation work at the high school will cost.
Architects and school officials did walk-throughs at the high school to develop a master list of renovation projects. Once bids are secured on the various projects, officials will develop a priority list to decide how far the available money will go to complete the projects.
Roppe said that, because the facility is 20 years old, the school system qualifies to apply for state financial assistance on the work which, along with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, will be used to finance the project. Actually, the school system has already sold bonds to finance the work with SPLOST proceeds to be used to pay off the bonds and not delay the work.
The high school renovation project will include construction of badly needed tennis courts for the high school and middle school tennis programs.
The recently cleared land next to the high school football stadium is being considered for practice fields for band, football and soccer. But work probably won’t start on that until the high school renovation matter is cleared up.
“We need to decide if we want to do it or hold on,” Roppe said. “We don’t want to get strapped for cash.”
Already approved for work is a project at Jeff Davis Middle School on land behind the existing middle school baseball field.
Roppe explained that the middle school track, used for both high school and middle school track events, becomes extremely crowded when meets attract four or more school.
To address the problem, officials agreed to construct a “throwing field” behind the baseball field so discus and shot put competition could be held there, and get that away from the main track, “so that they’re not out there on the field near the other athletes,” Roppe said.
The throwing field would address safety issues as well as relieving the congestion problems.

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