After facing tough questions from a high school student, the Clarke (Ga.) County Board of Education is planning to advance upgrades to a high school softball facility.
The Athens Banner-Herald reports that Clarke Central High School softball player Abby Allen addressed the board in a recent meeting, calling them out for what she called “inequitable” facilities.
The baseball team’s facilities include restrooms and running water, but the school’s softball facilities lack those amenities. In addition, the softball facility lacks a press box and concessions stand, meaning that boosters and team parents don’t have those fundraising avenues to support the team. “Why? Are baseball players more valued?” Allen asked at the board meeting.
The facility is so out-of-date that Allen said that it’s embarrassing, and that its difficult to visit other schools with superior facilities. According to Allen, the lacking facilities even make it hard for the team to find girls to participate.
“That’s what represents us,” she said. “It’s hard to get people to want to play because of the field.”
After saying her piece, Allen was greeted by a sustained round of applause by the audience.
Superintendent Demond Means said that the district has earmarked $2.5 million for facility improvements, and that the softball facility at Central is first in line. Planned upgrades include restroom facilities and running water, a press box, a concessions stand and drainage improvements.
The district hopes to get bids on upgrading the facility by the end of the month, according to director of facilities planning and construction John Gilbreath.
The softball facility isn’t the only one set for upgrades in the district. Means reportedly submitted a proposal for improvements earlier this year, which put funding questions to voters via a November referendum.