District Approves $900K for High School Gym Upgrades

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Abilene Reporter-News (Texas)


Abilene Independent School District trustees approved spending up to $900,000 to replace the flooring and seating inside the competition gyms at both Abilene and Cooper high schools during Monday's school board meeting.

A pair of new administrators also were hired by trustees Monday.

Citing the gym renovations as a need for all students, as physical education classes use the facilities on a regular basis, Associate Superintendent for Operations Scott McLean said the money will come from the remaining proceeds in the school bond program approved by voters in November 2013.

As such, he said, the work will be focused on modernizing the space and providing better safety to the students.

"All of these things ... are consistent with the things we were trying to achieve in the 2013 bond program," McLean said.

Trustees selected, at McLean's recommendation, Newman Sports Flooring to remove, level out and replace the wood flooring at the schools, while Worthington Contract Furniture was chosen to provide bleachers.

McLean said about $2.5 million was saved over the course of the bond program, though about $4 million was saved at the high schools alone.

So administrators decided to reinvest the savings at the high school level back into those two schools and developed through conversations multiple projects the district can address. The gym floor is just one piece of the overall puzzle AISD leaders hope to complete with the excess funds.

Executive Director of Athletics Phil Blue explained why a new gym floor became a need, as opposed to a desire.

"As best I can tell, the Abilene High main gym floor is original to the building," he said. "So, it's about 50 years old. Now, when these floors are installed, they're insured for about 30 years. And they coat the wood in protective (coating), but they recommend taking it down to the wood every 10 years. After four or five times, there really isn't any wood left. It does show its age."

He said Cooper's floor is in better condition, but there are parts that have been damaged significantly due to flooding or other problems since the floor was installed.

Officials said the gym completion target is the middle of August, which would force volleyball competitions at both schools to find new homes to start their respective seasons, McLean said.

In addition to the gymnasiums, McLean, Blue and Executive Director of Fine Arts Jay Lester also identified other aspects that need to be addressed. Locker rooms for girls sports such as softball and soccer, as well as an orchestra room for Abilene High School musicians, were identified as projects that could be addressed in future board meetings.

In other school board news, trustees approved the hiring of Kimberly Brumley to serve as executive director of curriculum and instruction and Chuck Griffin as assistant athletic director.

Brumley, who joins the district after serving in Corpus Christi ISD since 2006, will oversee the development and implementation of classroom instruction throughout the district. Griffin, current offensive coordinator at Georgetown High School, will provide assistance to Blue in developing coaches and implementing the overall plan for how the district approaches its athletic programs.

While Brumley is a new face to this part of Texas, Griffin is familiar with the city. He is a 2001 graduate of Hardin-Simmons University's physical education master's degree program.

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March 21, 2017


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