By: Greg Bird
A plan to install a new indoor batting facility at the McCreary Central Baseball field has been put on hold until a similar project can be completed at the softball field to avoid potential legal issues.
In a special called meeting Tuesday night, McCreary County Athletic Director Robert Jones informed the Board that, while he was not included in initial discussions regarding the projects, he had since learned that putting up the baseball facility before one of equal value at the softball field would be considered a violation if Title IX, a federal civil rights law that ensures equal treatment for girls’ athletic programs as boys’.
Jones stated McCreary Central is already considered in non-compliance with Title IX over the softball field, and erecting a building at the baseball field first could bring harsh repercussions for the School District.
The softball field does not have locker facilities or bathrooms located at the complex, putting it in non-compliance. Jones said the district has until 2016 to upgrade the facility to meet Title IX standards.
At Thursday’s meeting the Board was presented with a request to approve a BG1, basically a plan for construction required by the Kentucky Department of Education, which would allow the project to move forward.
Much of the funding for the projects was to be raised through donations, with the Board allocating $4,000 to each team to help supplement the process. When first proposed to the Board, the estimated cost of a 70’x36’ building was just $6,000.
Apparently, as donations came in, the scope of the project escalated.
The BG1 submitted for approval listed a total cost of $35,000 for the project, but did not specifically state where it would be located, only at the “McCreary Central High School Campus.”
An additional line on the form states the relocating of an electrical pole would be related to the project, but excluded from the scope of the BG1. There is a pole at the baseball field that would impede placing the building when construction begins.
Members of the Board questioned the request, noting the information Jones had presented just two days prior.
Superintendent Donnie Wright stated the plan was to go forward with both projects at the same time, but he wanted to start the BG1 process so plans could move forward.
Since the softball team is currently without a coach, there has been no fundraising done on that building, but once one was hired, Wright said, the fundraising would begin.
Board member Brandon Kidd questioned why Instructional Supervisor Tim Moore and other Central Office Personnel were involved with the project.
Moore, who was present at the meeting, stated he had a son on the team and had been working on his own time to help move both projects forward.
“There never was any intention to slight the softball program,” he said.
Kidd made a motion to table the approval, and it passed unanimously.
Indoor batting facilities have been touted as a needed improvement for both programs, noting that most schools in the 12th Region have similar facilities. They would be used to provide year-round instruction and training for student athletes.