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.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

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