BOE Discusses Hundred Complex
At the July 17 meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education, the board, along with concerned citizens, were briefed on the status of Hundred High School’s athletic complex upgrade.
Davis Athletics, of Parkersburg, W.Va., is conducting the upgrades.
Mr. John Davis, of Davis Athletics, thanked the board for the opportunity to improve the facilities at Hundred. He noted he has conducted some work in the past, for Wetzel County Schools.
“I think people have been satisfied with the work,” he said, adding he hoped Davis Athletics will be able to do more work for the school system.
“We have been working on the bleachers at Hundred for a while now,” Davis said.
He informed the board that the demolition part of the work had been completed more than a month ago. He said there has been some design work conducted in regards to how to handle a stream “coming off the hill, right in the middle of the press box and bleachers.”
“To avoid damaging any new structures, we, through the board, hired an architecture to do that design work, to facilitate water flow.”
Davis said there were a couple of different designs and plans to facilitate the water flow. Davis described different obstacles encountered though, in deciding on a design – gas lines, large water lines (to carry the flow of water), and more. Some plans just appeared too cumbersome and “not the best options.”
Davis’ plan “C” redirects the stream, behind the bleachers, and includes a barrier wall. Davis said the new design causes the stream to flow naturally toward “right field,” and “go toward the locker room.”
Davis said the hard part of the work is done. Additional work, as of the July 17 meeting, included the installation of a concrete foundation for bleachers, as well as the press box foundations.
Davis said delivery for some of the materials is expected to be Aug. 14. Davis said the press box would be installed first, followed by the bleachers. “It’s only taking a few days to build the bleachers. The long part is the prep, and making sure everything is designed and will work best.”
Davis reiterated that the water, at the bottom of the hill, would be diverted to the right with a natural trench, and flow toward town.
Board President Warren Grace inquired, of Davis, if there was a completion date on the football complex renovations. Davis said the work would be finished before the first football game.
“I will say that it’s going to mess up the football field a little bit, and we will clean up a little bit. It’ll probably need some tending over the winter months. It won’t be a perfect field by first game.”
Several in attendance expressed concern in regards to the future of Hundred’s softball field. It was noted that, currently, the field is “very, very small.”
Residents expressed concerns as to whether the bleachers would protrude too much and inhibit some of the space of the softball field.
Davis did note that the bleachers were “shrunk back to eight rows,” instead of 10, to take a few feet off of the structure. He did suggest possibly installing temporary fencing during baseball/softball season, for added safety.
Nathan Huggins, a local architecture, was one of the residents who expressed concerns to the board and Davis, regarding the renovations to the athletic structure.
Davis said he just did not want to see the softball field ruined. He noted he does have designs proposed of where a new field could possibly be worked, in Hundred.
Board member Bill Jones said he would like to make an observation on the matter. He described the many kids, at Long Drain School, participating in little league baseball.
“This is a thing I feel needs to grow, and we have never had a decent baseball field.”
“I’m not only speaking for myself, but this board we have every child in the county, their welfare in mind. Hundred kids are as important as any, so whatever we might be able to do, we need to try to do. The baseball facility is not up to snuff. we need to look at something else, and I think there may be a plan for that. Nathan, I would hope you would share a little of that plan with us tonight so we might be able to put it out on the table.”
Ron Dennis said he was an ex-head coach of years of baseball. Of the field, he noted, “It was never a baseball field. I don’t care what we do right now, it’s not a baseball field.”
Dennis noted it was no fault of the board, but said “For years we played on it, with a lot of the obstacles we have mentioned.”
Dennis, along with Huggins and Myron Seese, noted they didn’t want anyone to think that they were not appreciative.
“We are appreciative for this board is doing, for us out at Hundred. You’ve purchased the park and you are doing all those renovations, and for that, we really thank you. By the same token, we just want to try to make ourselves very clear that when we come out on the other end of this, we have somewhere for our kids to play softball and baseball, to practice and play. It’s no fun playing all away games, and that isn’t fair to the community or kids,” Dennis said.
Dennis added, “As Mr. Jones said, you’ve got a very strong little league program. We are working to make the high school program stronger, and if there are openings, I’m thinking of coming back. We have something to build on, but we can’t do it without a field, and that’s what we are really asking.”
Seese expressed appreciation for the upgrades to the athletic complex and introduced Huggins again, to bring his ideas to the board, in regards of the softball field.
Huggins expressed concerns about the bleachers being a problem for the softball field. He said he had spoken with folks at the board office, regarding his concerns. He said he was told if he (Huggins) could find another location for a softball field, “maybe that would be an option.”
Huggins referenced a piece of property approximately 1.5 miles outside of city limits, toward Littleton. He said he used to play little league in the field, when he was a child. Huggins said the property should have access to public water, from the Hundred/Littleton PSD.
It was noted that the group of concerned individuals do not want to give up on the current location of the softball field, but if the bleachers do end up impeding on the current field, the land Huggins described could be a feasible option, with minimal expense.
Seese said he talked to the individual that currently owns the land, and the land is only being used currently to store pipeline. Seese said he expressed interest in the property, to the owner.
The board did not take any action July 17 regarding the discussion on Hundred’s athletic complexes.