Morenci school board 2013.05.15

Written by David Green.

An auxiliary building constructed through the Morenci Middle School bond funding is currently used for a weigh-training facility and wrestling practice room, but it might be better utilized, says varsity football coach Mike McDowell.

McDowell spoke to the school board's building and site committee last week about expanding the training facility into the larger area now used for wrestling.

McDowell said he first thought about changing the alignment of the space last summer when he became involved with the football program again.

"It's almost a danger to get all of the football players in the weight room at once," he said.

Training in many sports, not just football, goes beyond weight training, he said, and he thinks the full potential of the building is not being realized.

The baseball and softball teams, for example, could have batting cages in the room along with a portable pitching mound. There would also be room for speed training and pliometrics.

"It's a beautiful building," he said, "but it's not being used to its full capacity. Compared to many area schools, we have a lot of square footage. We could make it a source of pride."

McDowell acknowledged that the building is a school facility and he doesn't intend for the football program to take over the space, but he said the football coaching staff would like to oversee the use of the building.

He will develop a suggested floor plan to present to the board for its June meeting.

FIFTH GRADE—Board members voted unanimously to move the two fifth grade classrooms back to the elementary school. The grade was moved out of the elementary when the new middle school was constructed.

The issue first came to the board’s attention when it was listed as a possible cost-cutting move, but that’s no longer a consideration.

“We don’t see where this would be a savings,” said superintendent Michael Osborne, but he acknowledged that many people favor the move for other reasons.

Curriculum issues, a closer location to elementary principal Mary Fisher, and concerns about the age appropriateness of having fifth grade students in the same vicinity as high school students were the chief issues discussed.

Board members also discussed the impact of the move on teacher Melissa Elliott’s live-long learning class. Secondary principal Kelli Campbell said that cooking is the only component that couldn’t be addressed at the elementary school, but students could walk to the middle school for that part of the class.

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