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Blog: Ammunition for High Schools Looking to Build

Same old story: You need to fix up your athletic facilities and the administration won't budge. But face it - without one big announcement that the recession is over, people will remain fiscally conservative. Particularly at the high school level, it's hard to rationalize adding to the expense side of the ledger.

Maybe it'll help to have some math to back up your request. Like this: High school sports participation is up, meaning that there are more players and a need for more and better-equipped facilities. And since a lot of the facilities have multiple uses, one improvement has the opportunity to benefit more than one program.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations' annual participation summary, the number of student-athletes continues to grow. In 2009-10, a total of 7,628,377 students (4,455,740 boys and 3,172,637 girls) participated in high school sports, a gain of 1.2 percent from 2008-09. Some of the biggest gains were in tennis, lacrosse, soccer and softball; smaller gains came in volleyball and golf. Even adapted sports are on the rise.

So to look at this objectively, you can make improvements where your student participation is growing, and/or you can make improvements to multiuse facilities to help spread the wealth. Some improvements you can do yourself (or with the help of parents, volunteers or your maintenance crew), while some will require a professional.

But first, you need the wherewithal to do it. Need ammunition for your argument with the administration? It's free: the NFHS study is available at www.nfhs.org - choose "participation data" from the menu on the left-hand side of the home page.

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