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Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas)
It's not quite a 100-yard dash, but the Wichita Falls ISD is making a run for getting a new track at Barwise Middle School.
At a 41/2-hour goal-setting session - the second 41/2-hour goal-setting session in the last two weeks - the school board and administrators focused some of their discussions on athletic department goals.
"That would be my No. 1 request for budgeting, would be that we would budget in to replace the Barwise track," Wichita Falls ISD Athletic Director Scot Hafley said.
The official estimate to do the work from Hellas Construction, which recently completed tennis court work at Hirschi and McNiel and turf field work around the district, is a little more than $628,000, Hafley said.
"And there are two alternate bids to add topsoil and sod."
Hafley said when it comes to the Barwise track, "It's bad. We'll have to bus to Wichita Falls High School for track practice. It's that bad."
He said the Barwise track surface is beset by drainage issues and is peeling off its concrete base, so it does not provide an adequate surface for walking or running.
"Our plan is to remove the track and all field events completely and rebuild the structure with a similar layout to what was done at the high schools last summer. We will replace the eight-lane track with six lanes and move the field events to new areas either inside the track or to an area that isn't flooded every time it rains."
"What's the time frame?" board President Dale Harvey asked .
"Once they mobilize, it's pretty quick. We're not doing turf or anything. We're just doing the track. ... If it's good weather, it's six to eight weeks (to complete the project)."
Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said another push from the Barwise community to address the track problem is that a group of parents wants to install a GaGa Ball pit play area outside, on the east side of the cafeteria. However, Kuhrt said none of that work can be done until the track issue is resolved.
"If we do any track work whatsoever, it would mess up anything they do."
The board and administration also discussed the long-talked-about plan for weight rooms at Kirby and Barwise middle schools.
"McNiel has a weight room. Kirby has a portable, and at Barwise, they brought over some of the Zundy weights and they lined them up against the wall on the upstairs gym," Hafley said, adding that students don't play basketball or volleyball in the upstairs gym.
He added that the district has received updated estimates on weight rooms since the decision was made to postpone the project.
"We are looking at a simple 1,200- to 1,500- square foot weight room that would be of similar size to the weight rooms located at McNiel Middle School."
Board trustee Elizabeth Yeager asked, "Do you think the track might be on the agenda next month?" and trustee Bill Franklin asked the same of the weight rooms.
"We're ready to go," Kuhrt said, though he added his recommendation would be to move another portable out to Kirby "until we come up with a long-range plan for Kirby."
On the plus side, Hafley said that once the track and weight room projects are completed, "Outside of natural disasters, there are no major (athletic) projects on the horizon we have to worry about," and the district would be concerned afterward with maintenance of their athletic facilities.
No action was taken at the goal-setting session. Items were for discussion only.
Follow Lana Sweeten-Shults on Twitter @LanaSweetenShul.
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