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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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