Track resurfacing topic of discussion at Charles City school board public hearing
Charles City’s School Board opened its doors for feedback stemming from the FY2019-20 proposed budget. The only speaker at Tuesday night’s public hearing made a plea for the school board to work with county supervisors to address athletic facility leaves.
Andre’ Jones, a former student-athlete and coach at Charles City High School, spoke about upgrading the athletic grounds for current students and the community as a whole. In particular, Jones addressed his concern about repairing the school’s track.
“I have watched the last six years the school board support of the track project in the CIP and I wish for it to continue this year,” he said. “Similar to last year, I made this request because of the track’s condition.”
Jones commented that the process of stripping and resurfacing the track should take place every 10 years by industry standards. The current track, constructed in 1995, has never undergone that process.
“That track isn’t just used by the school, but it is also a place that is frequented by community members and events,” Jones added, speaking about the relay for life. “Even if the board of supervisors choose not to fund it, I want the school board to continue to support it.”
The former student-athlete continued, speaking from personal knowledge that Charles City High School may be designated as the regional hosting site for track and field beginning next year. But for Jones, his main concern is that he wants to see both boards make at least an effort to talk about the situation.
“In 2015, New Kent High School’s tennis courts were in deteriorating conditions and an article ran in ‘The Chronicle’ about it,” he added, mentioning that the project that cost in excess of $400,000. “When that was read, both New Kent’s School Board and Board of Supervisors worked together, and it was addressed over a six-month period.
“I want you to note that this was completed in a joint effort and the last thing we need is a fiasco that gets blown out of proportion,” Jones said as he wrapped up his comments. “We’ve seen how sports affect this community from last summer and I rather have us make an effort to fix it ahead of time through the CIP instead of having to utilize funds in the operations funds to provide transportation year after year, especially if those kids have to travel away for competition.”
Jones also said that he would like to see some sort of contract services or an athletic trainer on duty at sporting events.
“Coaches can’t technically touch student-athletes,” he said. “Having an athletic trainer will provide student-athletes an extra layer of safety and precaution in case an emergency occurs and EMTs aren’t there.”
After the public hearing closed, school board members discussed the cost to resurface the track. Currently, the price is listed at $186,000, already up from an estimate of $178,000 from last year. School board members agreed with Jones, commenting on how the plateau is accessible for all.
School leaders said they will bring ideas that include community involvement and fundraising ideas to a joint meeting with the county’s board of supervisors in the future. Board members also said they are facing difficult issues due to addressing other concerns that include HVAC issues, transportation, and funding.