Hartselle Superintendent William Michael Reed presented floor plan revisions for the field house to be built at the new high school to the board and audience during a special work session called for Thursday, Oct. 25.
The change order added an estimated cost of $165,000 to the already $2 million practice facility. The changes added an area for the girls’ softball team, using the existing footprint, reworking the shared space for the addition. The board unanimously approved the change order in the regular school board meeting following the work session.
The old plans did not include a designated area for the softball team in the new facility. This stirred up Title IX lawsuit threats and hard feelings among parents, players, and associates, which prompted a crowded special work session held Oct. 8 for all involved to discuss the matter.
The new plans for the 50,000-square-foot practice facility, drafted by Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood, includes a 580 square-foot area for the 30-member softball team, with up to 35 lockers. The weight room was removed from the inside of the facility for the inclusion of the softball team. The softball area will also include a separate 232 square-foot toilets and shower area and a 144 square-foot softball storage area.
“All coaches have seen this and have agreed that this will work,” Reed said.
All three coaches housed in the new field house – softball, football, and baseball – will have their own offices, each with a private office, toilet and shower area.
“I just appreciate that you all went back to the drawing board,” Softball Coach Christy Ferguson said. “I think we’ll be fine and work with these guys.”
The baseball team is allocated an 887 square-foot locker room for 60 members, and the football team is allocated a 1,480 square-foot locker room for the 110-member team. Baseball and football teams would share a 623 square-foot toilets and showers area.
“I think it’s a very workable solution,” Head Baseball Coach William Booth said.
Head Football Coach Bob Godsey said he would “rather not give up the weight room space but you have to do what will work.”
In the conversation about what lockers to put in the facility, Godsey cautioned against cutting too many corners. He pointed out that wooden lockers may cost more initially but they look better and hold up longer.
“You’ve got a chance to make a show place, got a chance to do it right,” he said.
Reed said the estimated $165,000 in revision did not include lockers. The board has set aside a certain amount of money for lockers, he said.
“I really applaud the coaches and architects for working together on this, and the spirit in which it was handled,” Board Member Randy Sparkman said.
Sparkman urged the coaches to maintain the unified team spirit to help prevent any possible bullying over the situation.
“We don’t want a softball girl to take any heat because of how this worked out,” he said.
In the grand scheme of the new school construction and movement of the students to the new facility, the focus needs to also include protecting the funds in the general fund to renovate Sparkman Street campus for the junior high students, as well as renovations needed at the elementary schools, Sparkman said.
He suggested he would like to see planning for the Sparkman Street campus renovation costs to be done within the next 10 months.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a gender-equity law. It states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Title IX, says “Programs and activities which receive ED funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. These programs and activities may include, but are not limited to: admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing and employment. Also, a recipient may not retaliate against any person because he or she opposed an unlawful educational practice or policy, or made charges, testified or participated in any complaint action under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX. The ED Title IX regulations (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provide a detailed discussion of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”
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