Pawhuska High School football coach Matt Hennesy said a major athletic facilities project now underway will ultimately yield “the premier Class-A facility in Oklahoma” — perhaps even one of the premier small-school athletic complexes in the nation.
Athletic Director Chris Walker spoke with the Pawhuska Board of Education during its meeting Monday about one aspect of the project — the construction of a proper running track for the track-and-field program. Walker explained after his session with the board that he didn’t recall Pawhuska ever having had a proper track.
The school had a track surface “like gravel” when he was a student there in the 1990s, Walker said. Last year, track conditions were so dangerous that Pawhuska High School (PHS) couldn’t host a track meet, he said. All the school’s meets were held on the road in the spring of 2018.
Walker on Monday told the Board of Education that three bids for the track had been received, the lowest of which was approximately $176,000. The low bid came from Geo-Surfaces, a Louisiana company specializing in professionally -engineered, athletic surfaces.
The board initially voted to approve the bid, but rescinded that approval at the end of its meeting, citing a procedural error.
The athletic facilities project at PHS include revamping the girls softball field. That upgrade addresses both a gas leak and using grass taken off the football field to replace the surface on the softball field, Hennesy said.
“Our football field sod was good,” Hennesy said, commenting that when the sod was removed from Ormond Beach Memorial Stadium to make way for a new coating of artificial turf, it became the new surface of the softball field.
Youth and parents alike turned out to provide labor for the softball field makeover, Hennesy said. He estimated the softball field would be playable in a very short period of time.
“It was good for our kids to give back,” Hennesy said regarding the volunteer labor donated at the softball field.
The new artificial turf at Ormond Beach Stadium will be safe and will double as a surface suitable for soccer, Hennesy said. The turf will have soccer markings on it, he said.
“It’s going to save the school district a ton of money,” Hennesy said.
Private donations are the driving force behind this athletic facilities project, school officials say. For the time being, the school district is declining to name donors. It says they prefer anonymity. In the longer term, however, the school district may publicly honor the donors. Walker spoke last week of erecting a marquee sign outside the stadium, bearing names of contributors.