Building Strong Birds

Now graduated Matthew Van Gorp spots for senior linebacker Oziel Alanis during strength and conditioning in El Campo High School’s weight room, before the start of the football season in 2019.  Also pictured is Ricebirds defensive coordinator Elliot Babcock.

Potties are not optional when it comes to new buildings, city officials said last week, rejecting an El Campo ISD request to build a high school weight room without them.

Singleton Zimmer Haliburton Architect Jim Singleton appeared before the city Board of Adjustment Oct. 15 making the request.

“The proposed new building will functionally serve as an extension to the existing field house which has men’s restrooms (a total of 27 fixtures) and women’s restrooms (a total of 43 fixtures) that were built to accommodate the football crowd on Friday night,” he said in letter to the city planning department dated Aug. 24.

The new building, however, is just that – a detached separate structure.

“The International Building Code (used in El Campo) requires that all facilities have restrooms and the total or required restrooms are based on the building’s square footage,” Planning Director Jai McBride said in her presentation on the issue.

The district argued that the new weight room doors would be only 20 feet from the outer wall of the weight room.

The plan called for the boys to walk out the weight room doors and into the bathroom which faces the entrance. The girls, however, would have been required to walk around the field house building to access the entrance to the women’s restroom.

“Restrooms built in the field house are for Friday night football games and not used during the day and are convenient for both boys and girls to use during the day while they are working out,” according to Singleton’s letter.

Former El Campo ISD Superintendent Mark Pool, a BOA alternate, made the motion to allow the district to drop restrooms from the weight room plan.

He got no support.

Pool’s motion died for lack of a second supporter, rejecting the effort.

In July, El Campo ISD approved plans for a new ECHS weight room after a 2019 evaluation of district facilities. Safety concerns were listed as why the project topped the list.

Architects were hired for the building estimated in the $3 million range. No bid has been accepted as of yet.

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