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.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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