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.

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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