By DAN FOX
Following a preliminary work session, the Municipality of Skagway and the Skagway School District plan to work together regarding a potential renovation of the school’s ball field.
The school had offered up the ball field for the recent Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride, which saw 32 horses and riders galloping in formation across the grass on the field.
Coughran said the school had suggested the field as a location for the event to the municipality, and had talked about the potential of the municipality helping to develop some sort of facility following the event – leading to the Sept. 19 work session, which had Gregg Kollasch and Tyson Ames from Public Works in attendance.
Track coaches Kent Fielding and Kate Bauer also sat in on the work session. Fielding said for a practice track, a 200-meter track would be preferable, given the space available.
The standard, competitive track is 400 meters.
“It would be something to actually work on pacing, and work on sprint work,” Fielding said. “It would also be something that we could use for hurdles, because putting hurdles on uneven ground is not always the best thing.”
One idea for the space was roughly sketched out for the work session – a circular dirt track, with a jumping pit and approach spanning the diameter of the track.
This would leave two smaller fields on either side of the concrete approach for the jumping pit for school activities.
Ames pointed out that regular maintenance would be required for such a track.
“The weeds will just take it over, it’s going to take some time,” Ames said. “If these guys [Public Works] didn’t maintain our fields the way they do, I mean they put a lot of time and effort into it, they would be garbage. It’s something that’s going to have to have ongoing time put into it.”
On the topic of track, School Board Member Darren Belisle said he wanted to get something in place for students to practice the high jump. Belisle referenced Jennifer Hansen, who went to the State Track Championships in 2017 for the high jump, among other events, despite not being able to practice for the high jump at home.
Fielding said that mats for jumpers to land on would be the most expensive piece of equipment.
“You could practice high jumping in the gym if you had a mat,” Fielding said. “The actual pole itself is not expensive.”
The school’s track team is already going to be starting its next season ahead of the last in terms of equipment – an anonymous donor paid to get the school 20 new hurdles.
In the 2017 track season, the students had to borrow practice hurdles from Haines.
Moving forward, Coughran said the school would be preparing some documents and schematics for Public Works to look over.
“After that we’re hopefully going to be able to sit down with Public Works and the city manager and hash out a plan, realizing that we’re going to lean pretty heavily on cooperation and contributions from the municipality,” Coughran said.
No money was budgeted for the project for 2017 – Coughran said during the work session that funds could be allocated in the 2018 budget.
School Board Member Mary Tidlow suggested seeking out donated materials.
While intended for track practice, the facility would also be open for public use, Coughran said.
“It [a track] is definitely a need,” Coughran said. “Our track program is one of our biggest activities.”