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FCS to make moves on athletic facilities upgrades

Jan. 16—FAYETTEVILLE — Fayette County Schools is seeking requests for proposals (RFP) to secure architectural/engineering design services for the design and construction oversight for athletic facilities upgrades in the county.

According to a Jan. 16 legal advertisement in The Register-Herald, the initial scope of the proposed project will include new baseball, softball and turf football fields at the Midland Trail High School campus, as well as a new turf football field and track replacement on the Oak Hill High School campus.

Work on the Midland Trail track is not included in the RFP.

"We'd like to have the turf fields ready to go by Aug. 1," said Fayette County Superintendent Gary Hough. The other fields are expected to be completed in time for the spring 2025 seasons.

Tim Payton, FCS director of operations, said a plan to address other athletic facilities in the county is in the offing.

After the initial sports facilities upgrade process is complete, Hough said, "We will look toward the future. We hope to have additional expenditures within a 2-year period to contribute to doing more (upgrades) elsewhere in the county."

Hough said it's too early to assign a total cost to the pending project. Lease purchase funds will be used, as will the funds the county will have to contribute to move the softball and baseball fields at Midland Trail as the site preparation phase commences for the new elementary school that will eventually be built on that Hico campus.

"We're unsure of the total cost of the project until we get architectural drawings in and make adjustments on those drawings," said Hough.

He and Payton both estimated that the two football turf projects combined will cost in the $4 to $5 million range.

Hough said the turf fields will be multi-use and give sports other than football the chance to use the new fields. As schedules dictate, soccer and football games both will be played on the turf fields as much as possible, he noted. He said he has met with school athletic directors to discuss scheduling.

He and Payton both said a "high-priority" project in the next phase will include redoing the gymnasium at Valley PK-8, including new bleachers, a new floor and a paint job.

The eight-lane Oak Hill High track hasn't been used for a meet since 2018, head track coach George Smith said, although it has been utilized for practices since then.

"I'm very excited to see the ball rolling for a resurfaced track," said Smith. "If I remember correctly, this current track was completed in 1997 and was last repainted in 2014.

"It's time."

"The county redid the gym at OHHS and did a really great job and gave us something to be proud of," Smith added. "I can't wait to see the track refinished, and I hope that the county will take input from me and Dan Stowers in the design phase.

"Once it is completed, this should open up the opportunity to host two home meets again next year (OHHS Invitational and Fayetteville Lions Club), as well as the potential to put our name in the hat to host regional meets in the future."

Payton said the replaced track surface will remain eight lanes.

Hough said the Fayette County Board of Education didn't have to vote on the information in the RFP, but members are fully aware of what it entails. "I'll prepare all of the packages and take it to them for their approval," he said.

RFPs will be received by Fayette County Schools no later than 3 p.m. on Feb. 15. Submissions received after that deadline will not be considered.

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