BRIGHTON — There won’t be a decision on a potential $150-million bond measure and a $7.5-million levy override in School District 27J for another month or so.
But the athletic directors at Prairie View and Brighton high schools are thinking ahead just in case the measures fail in the November election.
If voters approve the two questions, Brighton would get two phases of improvements to its athletic facilities, including a new stadium track and a new turf for the football/soccer field. The second phase — in three to four years — would remove the CLC and turn the existing courtyard into the main gym. That project would also force the baseball field to be relocated.
Prairie View would stand to receive resurfacing of its tennis courts, a respraying of the running track, upgrades to the softball field, completion of the so-called “swing field” and the replacement of the artificial turf field, according to 27J District spokesman Kevin Denke.
“We’re not sure about the timing,” he said. “It may be concurrent with the new construction. We’ve got a good handle on when those projects will take place.”
Students at both schools could see longer school days through the 2018-2019 school year. Split schedules at the two high schools are a probability, too.
“If we start early and finish later, that means we start practices later and end later,” BHS athletic director Todd Potestio said. “We have some practices that end at 8 or 8:30 at night now because of our facilities (boys and girls basketball and boys soccer, chiefly). I don’t know how we’d fit it all in. If we have a P.E. (physical education class) until 5, we don’t get the teams on the field until 5:30. That’s what it’s going to look like.”
Prairie View athletic director Heath Wilson called it a “scheduling nightmare.”
“What happens if we offer a math or algebra class when we’re trying to schedule a student-athlete for math classes in the morning and the class is available in the afternoon?” he asked. “We’d be trying to schedule games with all of the other districts that aren’t on a split schedule.”
No one is talking about cutting athletic programs at either school just yet. But Potestio said a split schedule could have an impact on participation numbers.
“It’s going to push our games around too,” he said. “The mission is academics with time to participate in athletics. We’d be asking kids to stay from 6:30 in the morning to the end of practice. That’s a 14-hour day. There are only so many things you can have a kid do.”
“Just thinking about transportation and how run different schedules to get the kids to and from their homes, it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience,” he said. “I see a lack of participation because of a lack of being able to participate.”
BHS used to have four levels of athletic programs, something Potestio said the school needs to be competitive.
“I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” he said. “We’ve struggled here with mill levies and bond elections. Brighton people want to know, ‘What’s in it for us?’ We’re going to be touched with this. If the election is successful, we’re going to be able to bring Brighton High School up to snuff with some of the newer schools.”
Wilson said if the option were for a split schedule, it wouldn’t be a short-term thing.
“If we have to, it’ll be as a cannon ball,” he said. “It’s a long-term deal. If we make the change, it will be for several years so we don’t throw everyone’s schedule into a tizzy.”
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