Room for all
“Don’t forget about us,” was the plea from a Hartselle High softball player to the Hartselle Board of Education last week. The board had been listening to softball parents and other citizens express their concern about a recent decision involving the new high school facility. The board has let contracts for a $2 million indoor practice facility at the new campus. However, the design as it currently stands does not have locker and dressing room facilities for softball, only baseball and football.
The board has proposed that softball would have exclusive use of the current indoor practice facility at the Sparkman Street campus. That facility is currently shared by both baseball and softball. The board has also offered to refurbish the old facility for softball. In offering this option the board felt it was important to keep the boys and girls dressing areas separate. Softball players and coaches were told they could have dressing areas at the new campus but inside the gym facility.
When the new school was proposed the consensus by all, including the community, was that all athletic programs would have practice facilities at the new school, including softball. The perception by many who attended the work session last week was that softball had been left out. While the board says this is not the case, it can make one wonder where the thought process was in this decision. The excitement of a new school has all involved anxious to be moved in and using the new school. But knowing that you will still be using the same facility that has been around for years would take some of the excitement away for the softball program. Even though you would not have to share space you would still feel left out knowing others had a new facility to use. It’s almost like having two teenagers and buying one a new car and the other a used one. Both would have transportation, but there is no way around one child feeling like he or she was slighted.
While available funds are always an issue with any project, the new school should have all involved sharing ownership and pride from students to the community. This multi-million dollar facility will be first rate both for academics as well as sports. While the cost has to rise for softball to be included, both in practice facilities and locker space, this is a cost that is well worth expending. With the square footage and mufti-million dollar cost, there should be room for everyone. Even with the project being over budget already, this issue needs to be settled and all sports sharing equally in the end result, the new Hartselle High School.
Randy Garrison is the president and publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer.