Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

Track talk at BHS needs some answers

April 13, 2006

We've been intrigued for some time by the ongoing facility improvement discussions by the Baldwin School Board. Our interest was particularly piqued after the latest round Monday.

In the past, many ideas have been floated around on physical needs for the district. There's a consultant looking into a possible community building with some form of auditorium, possibly, that the school board has discussed the need for. There have been other possible needs expressed, such as the district building its own football stadium with track, rather than stay the course at Baker University's Liston Stadium.

That talk took another turn when Jim Drew, whose company is building the new track at Baker, paid the board a visit. Because the company is already in town, they could build a "practice" track at the Baldwin High School soccer field area at a cheaper cost.

Cost of the track would "only" be $150,000. Sounds reasonable. But, it would take another $250,000 worth of improvements to the soccer field to make it work. That's a total of $400,000. Is that a "sweet deal?" We don't know.

We do know that for safety reasons, it might be time that BHS and Baldwin Junior High School have its own track. Between those teams and Baker practicing at Liston, it can get pretty crowded.

But, what we also don't know is if the school board is serious about its own football facility. If so, we'd think a practice track wouldn't make much sense. It would make more sense to have a football field with a real track, if -- again -- the board is serious about it.

Is it time to leave Liston? Tough question, especially since Baker is investing millions of dollars into the sports complex, which will include a top-of-the-line track and synthetic turf for the football field. Yes, the cost of using those facilities will likely rise for the school district.

Does that mean going out on our own or building our own "practice" track make sense? Again, we don't know. But, we do know it needs to be figured out quickly. The construction crew won't be in town that long.

Let's think this through now, instead of kicking ourselves later.

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