El Campo ISD trustees discussed establishing track hours at Ricebird Stadium at its June meeting.
Concerns were expressed about the 24-hour track access for the public during a recent district facility committee meeting, board president James Russell said.
“It had come to mine and (trustee) Ed’s (Erwin) attention that with the track open 24-7 is likely an issue once we put the security fence up (at the high school) because the spinning gate will be a point of entry that is not monitored,” Russell said.
“Why have a fence if you’re just going to leave that open?,” Russell said.
Principal Demetric Wells said the spinning gate will be locked during the school day with a chain and padlock until another device is installed.
“Coach (Wayne) Condra and Mr. (Jeff) Balcar have both expressed concern that the public has access to the field and track late at night. There have been several incidents where school property has been damaged or left unclean,” Superintendent Kelly Waters said.
“The public would still have access to the facility, just not during the school day or late at night,” Waters added.
District property has been vandalized, including the porch area at the field house.
“I would like the track to be open to the public to some degree to use the facility. But someone who is up there at two o’clock in the morning is probably not running wind sprints,” he added. “I think we can come up with a happy medium that states the facility will open at this hour and shut down at this hour.”
Trustee Greg Anderson mentioned the track is often “packed” with people by 7 a.m.
Ideas that came out of the facility committee meeting included a magnetic lock with a timer to open and close at a certain time.
“No one should have to go up there to open and close the gate, that’s a given,” Russell said.
Trustee Kevin Wied said an exit option has to be in place in case someone using the facility loses track of the time and is locked inside the facility.
“The problem with that is if no one is monitoring the gate I can hold it open for someone or I can lodge something between the gate and the fence that won’t let it close and people can walk in and out as they please,” Wied said.
Some times were discussed by trustees, but no officials track hours were set.
“I hope that people will bring ideas to the next facilities meeting,” Erwin said.