The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 17, 2014

County athletic, physical education facilities being upgraded

FAIRMONT — The Marion County Board of Education approved a number of contracts and payments to companies involved with athletic facilities upgrades throughout the county during its meeting Monday evening.

“Our athletic and physical education facilities have not received upgrades in many years, and we’re falling drastically behind our neighbors, those that we compete against in our conference and throughout the state,” said Superintendent Gary Price.

ProGrass is under contract to lay artificial turf on the football fields at North Marion High School and at East-West Stadium.

The turf at East-West Stadium was laid yesterday and will require only a few more days of work, Price said.

With the field almost in place, workers just need to place numbers and other finishing touches.

Workers will also treat certain sections at East-West Stadium to help prevent the freeze-and-thaw process in the winter that creates cracks and damages. Some bleachers will also be replaced.

Before North Marion’s turf is laid, Green River Group will conduct a $504,844.40 project to remove dirt and repair North Marion’s football field.

“There needs to be a considerable amount of dirt moved to make sure that it’s all lined up for proper drainage and everything,” Price said.

Workers will set a gravel base on the field after the dirt is removed, and then ProGrass will move to North Marion to lay the turf.

The board approved a payment to Thrasher Group, Inc. for its work designing North Marion’s turf layout, along with a $6,800 project to recoat the gym floor at North Marion and a $22,250 project to refinish the gym floor at West Fairmont Middle School.

The board will hold a meeting June 30 to discuss contracting out a project that will result in a new floor and bleachers at the Woody Williams Armory.

“We’re really under a time crunch with those, to get those done before competition starts,” said Price.

The armory will continue as Fairmont Senior’s home gym for games and practices, and the girls’ teams will play its schedule there next season.

Work will also start on North Marion’s new track in the fall.

“I could envision people in the North Marion area wanting to use the new track there as a place to walk, just as a lot of people in the Fairmont area go over to East-West Stadium and use that track as a nice, comfortable place to walk,” Price said. “So we’re anxious for them to be multi-use and serve the community in a variety of ways.”

The county has been setting aside carry-over funds from the budget until it gathered enough total funds to carry out these renovations, he said.

Price hopes the updated facilities will encourage more students to participate in extracurricular activities and that community groups and individuals will take advantage of the facilities when doing physical activities.

Increased participation may help reduce obesity rates and overall health issues like heart disease and diabetes Marion County and the entire state continue to struggle with, he said.

“An alarming percentage of students in Marion County schools need to be in better health, and one of the things we can do is provide opportunities for them to exercise through physical education class and athletic teams.”

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.

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