APSB committee endorses replacing Bunkie Magnet gym bleachers

Rejects request to repair Marksville High track facilities


   Endorsing the use of reserve funds to restore Marksville High’s track got a cold shoulder response, but replacing the gym bleachers at Bunkie Magnet was given a green light by an Avoyelles School Board committee Nov. 15.
   The Building & Lands Committee discussed the possibility of dipping into a $700,000 reserve to repair and resurface the Marksville track facility. The project would cost about $132,000. The hope was that the track could be put back into useable shape in time to host the parish track meet.
  Committee member James Gauthier said he would object to using reserve funds for the project. Board member Chris LaCour, who is not on the committee but attended the meeting, asked that the board look at other funding sources.
   Superintendent Blaine Dauzat told the committee that if the track repair was recommended by the committee and approved by the board at its Dec. 6 meeting, the track would not be ready in time for a track meet in May -- even if the weather cooperated and there were no delays.
   Chairman Michael Lacombe called for a motion to recommend moving ahead with the project, but there was no motion.
  Board members have been discussing the need to repair the MHS facility, to basically reconstruct the BMHS track and to build a track at Avoyelles High. LaCour has applied for a state grant for the AHS project, but concedes there is little likelihood of the project being approved.
Bunkie bleachers
   Bunkie’s bleachers received a more welcoming response.
  Maintenance Supervisor Steve Marcotte told the committee that the bleachers can no longer be repaired. He said they will last for this basketball season, but the best option for the parish is to replace them with electronically controlled bleachers.
   The bleachers' tracks have had to be repaired several times because over time they break due to the bleachers not being pulled out straight. The electric motor on the proposed bleacher system eliminates that problem.
   The board received an estimate on that type of bleacher system a few years ago. The bleachers would have cost $75,000 at that time. Marcotte pointed out that the price could have changed.
   Marcotte said a manual system, like the current bleachers, would cost about $10,000 less than a remote-controlled system.
   Board member Lizzie Ned, who represents the Bunkie area but is not on that committee, said the bleachers pose a safety hazard. 
  Committee member Van Kojis, who also represents the Bunkie area on the board, made the motion recommending the board advertise for bids on the bleachers and then consider replacing them after this basketball season.
   Discussion on funding for the project also focused on reserve funds.