Athletics upgrades put on hold
November 6, 2015
On Tuesday, Park City voters went against the Park City School District’s $56 million bond, shooting the proposal down by a final vote of 3,001 against and 1,944 for.
Among the projects proposed by the bond was $12 million for athletic facility improvements, which would have potentially included moving Dozier Field to make way for a new wing for the high school and building an indoor fieldhouse to use during Park City’s long winter months.
PCHS Activities Director Jamie Sheetz isn’t discouraged by the failure of the bond. He said the athletic programs at Park City will continue to make the best of what they have.
"I think it was nice that the voters of Park City had a chance to express their right and their voice," he said. "Leading up to the vote, there was some vocal opposition and there were some people who supported it as well. I don’t know that I was surprised either way. Being in athletics, you win or you lose and you move on. That’s where we’re at."
Until the district comes up with a new plan, Sheetz said the athletic facilities will remain largely the same for the near future.
"Athletically, everything is put on hold, either temporarily or permanently," he said. "We have to wait for the time to pass and the board and district office to essentially give us the new direction. Once we get that, we’ll know. I don’t anticipate any major changes to athletics coming any time soon. We’ve got to take care of the primary academic needs with the realignment stuff [bringing ninth graders into the high school building]. If students are coming up, we have to take care of that first. Everything that’s extracurricular literally becomes extra."
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The PCHS coaches are generally fine with the status quo, Sheetz added.
"They always are asking for new stuff, improved stuff, improved situations and surfaces, etc., but I think that’s them doing their jobs," he said. "We’re always trying to improve and get better wherever we’re at. But at the end of the day, we keep showing up to work and doing the things we’re doing. To go back to the athletic analogies, they’ve all been taught to do the best with what they have, for as long as they have it, until something better comes along."
As far as fielding competitive squads goes, Sheetz isn’t at all worried that the failure of the bond will impact the Miners’ competitiveness.
"We’ll try to continue the tradition of success we’ve had with our programs and we will," he said. "It’s the coaches and it’s the kids that make the biggest differences, not the facilities. We could play on a dirt field in everything and our kids would still turn out."
But, he quickly added with a laugh, "that doesn’t mean we should."
Moving forward, Sheetz said there are still a few projects (on a lesser scale than an indoor fieldhouse) he’ll try to accomplish.
"To put an artificial surface down on the baseball and softball fields, that fundamentally changes what happens for them for a season," he said. "If you’re able to change the surface and able to plow that surface, like we’re able to do now with Dozier, they’re on their facilities much sooner in the spring and we’re not having to stack practices [at Dozier]."
Another project involves finding a dedicated space for the school’s wrestling program.
"We have no wrestling room," Sheetz said. "Wrestling is out in the open on a balcony with uneven surfaces on mats. That’s one issue that will need to be looked at and addressed."
Sheetz said he, the coaches and the school board will continue to look at ways to upgrade the school’s athletic facilities. But, he continued, the current facilities are fine for now.
"We’ve survived this long with what we have," he said. "Can we survive longer? Yeah. Do I think our kids deserve better? Absolutely. I’m not doing my job if I’m not constantly looking at what we’re doing and trying to improve our processes, our facilities, our results. You’re trying to leave stuff better than how you found it."
But, for now, Sheetz said the athletics department is taking a wait-and-see approach, at least until the school board meets again and forms a new strategy.
"We’re just going to wait and see what direction the district points us in and that’s the way we’ll march," he said. "We’ll keep moving forward to improve the education in Park City."
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