Softball field house to get district money

Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nearly $62,000 of district money will be used to help complete a field house for the Maroon Tide slow pitch and fast pitch softball teams.

The school board for the Picayune Municipal Separate School District voted to spend up to $61,959, in addition to $10,000 it had already authorized, to help the Softball Boosters club complete the facility. The boosters have already raised and spent more than $41,000, and has raised another $5,000 to spend on the facility, booster club president Ricky Reed told the board at its meeting last night.

Reed said the booster club is continuing its fund-raising efforts to support and equip the facility.

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Board chairman Harvey Miller thanked Reed and members of the booster club that were at the meeting to present the request for their efforts on behalf of the softball players.

“I know some people said this board would never support the girls the way it has the boys sports, but we support all our kids, whether its girls softball or boys football, or soccer, we support all our kids,” Miller said.

Board member Tony Smith said the bound and detailed presentation given school board members “is a model for all of our other clubs.”

Reed said softball and girls basketball coach Kristi Mitchell put together the presentation the board members brought to the meeting. He said she wasn’t at the meeting with them because she was coaching a basketball game as the meeting took place.

During a discussion later in the meeting on 16th section matters and during the board members’ comments time at the end of the meeting Miller also addressed the efforts by the Hancock County School District to take a Picayune school district 16th section in the buffer zone inside Hancock County.

“It’s not about the kids like they’re saying. It’s all about economics,” Miller said. “They weren’t interested in that 16th section until we harvested the timber off it.”

The Picayune school district acquired the 16th section to support expenses related to students from a portion of Hancock County that is in the Picayune school district. The Hancock County school district wants to take both portion of Hancock County in the Picayune school district into the Hancock County school district and acquire the 16th section.

The board approved a four-pole lighting system for the football stadium to replace a six-pole system that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Miller said the new system should provide better lighting than the old system and will have brackets that can be lowered to change lights when they burn out. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying the $455,000 cost of the new lighting.

The board approved a new model contract for use of the district’s auditorium by organizations outside of Picayune and Pearl River County as the office manager of a dance school in Slidell, La., listened to the discussion and explained why the Picayune facility is now so important to dance schools in Slidell.

Lynn Maffei of Danceworks said that tap shoes can’t be used on the stage of the auditorium in Slidell and that the dance schools and other potential users of the Slidell facility have been told that the sound system and the lighting system for the auditorium are not reliable.

“We were told that they may go out and if the do, ‘Oh, well,’” she said.

Under the model contract, out-of-area users would be charged rates double and triple what local users are charged, said board member Ginny Dodd.

“We spent a lot of money renovating this facility and we have to maintain it for our local users,” Miller explained.

Maffei said she understood and is thankful that the Picayune facility is available.

In other matters, the board:

— Approved personnel matters.

— Approved the consent items, including donations of $1,500 to Nicholson Elementary for a math board by Gerri Cruthird, and $25 from the Evening Lions to Roseland Park Elementary for the Peace Poster Contest.

— Approved finance matters, except for three 16th section matters carried into executive session.

— Approved advertising for a vehicle for Early Head Start.

— Amended the Food Services procurement contract.

— Approved a request from Resurrection Life Worship center for the use of two buses Dec. 28-Dec. 30.

— Approved the first reading on three board policies.

— Went into executive session on discipline, personnel and 16th section matters. No action was taken after the session on any of the matters carried into executive session.