The road to updating the Harlan Independent School’s athletic facility in Georgetown may have gotten a little shorter after a meeting of the Harlan Independent Board of Education on Thursday. Football coach J.B. Donahue addressed the board asking for the improvements.
Passing out a list of items he felt needed updated, Donahue, along with a number of local businessmen and alumni, agreed the ticket booth, field house, track, concession building and public restrooms all need serious repairs.
“I have a number of people with me who are alumni, parents and grandparents who are basically here to support me in my request for a new facility for football and track,” said Donahue. “When our present facility was built 25 years ago, it was a good facility. However, there has been no updating to the facility since that time.”
Donahue listed things such as replacing roofs, floors and doors due to wear and tear over the years. He said the concession building needed to be completely rebuilt because it was originally constructed with “whatever was left over” from the original construction of the athletic facility.
“We’ve made adjustments throughout the years, but everything is beyond patching now,” said Donahue. “We’d like to have a better and more competitive facility as compared to other schools our size such as Jenkins and Pineville High schools. If you are going to have football and track you need to support it. I’ve been doing this a long time and twice a year I am over there moving lockers and weight equipment — lockers out, weight equipment in and vice versa. We just don’t have enough room.”
Donahue said he and his group of supporters are willing to do what they need to do to help raise funds for a new facility, but they need the board, alumni and other interested individuals’ support on the project as well.
“It’s beyond patching,” said Joe Meadors, chairman of the board. “We’ve gotten our money’s worth out of that facility. It’s time to put something else over there. The concession stand and public restrooms, we throw $500 to $1,000 over there every year and it’s the same problems over and over. We need to do this. We need to get a plan developed and hopefully others will jump on board and help us with this.”
After a lengthy discussion, Superintendent David Johnson said he will look for funds to begin the project. He asked Donahue and others to return to the board’s January meeting, at which time he will report what funds he has found for the project.
“What it all comes down to is how do we pay for it,” said Johnson. “Understand there are hoops we have to jump through. I have talked to the state department and they told me they will move as quickly as they can, but there are things we have to do. If we can all work together with each other’s resources maybe we can get this thing going in stages and get it moving.”
In attendance at the meeting was local businessman Don Parsons, who said he will look at the cost for a metal building and bring those costs back to the board. Businessman Shelby Wilson asked the board when they develop a plan if the school’s baseball field can be made handicap accessible.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org