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Difficult decision for BOE

At Monday night’s meeting, the Hartselle Board of Education listened to parents and one student regarding the dressing and training facilities at the new high school. It was good to have this open forum to work on a solution to the problem.

From what I am hearing, the biggest issue is that the Hartselle softball program doesn’t necessarily have an adequate locker room to call its own at the new high school on Bethel Road.

Options have been considered to allow Hartselle softball to continue using the current baseball/softball facility, after renovations of course. But the problem is that it’s not on campus. High school girls will still have to find a way to go from the new campus, cross the railroad tracks and get back to the old campus.

On game days, they would go from the new school to the old school to get dressed and load up equipment. Then, they would travel from the old school to their competition field at the Grady and Margie Long Complex.

At one time, softball’s on-campus practice field was going to be converted to another baseball practice field.

Those plans are no longer going to happen, as the board of education appears like it will try to find adequate locker rooms and storage areas for the softball team. They also have the on-campus outdoor 200-foot field back.

It does appear like there was a breakdown in communication between the board of education, school administrators, the softball coaches and parents. Part of that may be because their team was being coached by an interim coach last season, when the plans were being made for the field house/indoor training facility. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but we never should have needed this type of a meeting after the concrete slab for the field house was already laid.

However, our board of education must make a decision to provide adequate facilities, but without spending much more money. The school project is already about $4 million over what was initially budgeted and it cannot afford to go much further.

That might mean removing something to make room for it, but if every other sport has its own adequate, dedicated locker rooms, softball deserves the same treatment.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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