LCS to Open Leon High School Track to Public

LCS to Open Leon High School Track to Public

At the most recent School Board meeting, Leon County Schools (LCS) Superintendent Rocky Hanna proposed to re-open track & field facilities to the public on Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The proposal comes just weeks after adopting a policy that would limit use of the facilities to the public.

Mr. Hanna noted that he met with a security company to discuss track supervision at Leon High School as a pilot project during scheduled supervised hours. He said this approach is a compromise and while he wants LCS facilities to be accessible, “We have to supervise it. Things are different. When I was a kid going up there hitting on the tackling dummy and got hurt, Morgan and Morgan wasn’t on every bus in town.”

Mr. Hanna mentioned that since Godby High School was getting a new track field this upcoming October, if the pilot goes well at Leon High School, there is a chance that in January Godby’s track would be open on weekend mornings as well. Mr. Hanna also noted that the security that will be used for supervision will be paid primarily by donations, not tax payer dollars.

Several Board members seemed to be concerned with the pilot. Board member Darryl Jones noted that the LCS Risk Manager had already made an argument on why it wouldn’t be in the school’s best interest to keep track fields accessible to the public. Jones then asked whether the pilot would alleviate those risks, to which Hanna replied, “I think it’s alleviated because it’s going to be supervised.” Hanna then explained that if anything were to happen under the supervision of security, law enforcement would be immediately contacted.

However, Chair Alva Smith noted that the pilot would not absolve the district from potentially being sued. She stated, “I appreciate you trying to meet in the middle and find some common ground, but the issues that we discussed still remain.” Mr. Hanna explained that although there remains a small amount of risk, his main concern was the track being accessible without supervision.

11 Responses to "LCS to Open Leon High School Track to Public"

  1. The LCS risk managers should be more worried about someone getting hurt on those concrete bleachers. When I was at Leon (close to five decades ago), we’d run 10-15 “hills” on those blasted things at the end of football practice, which was dreaded! I think the basketball team ran them by the 100s.

  2. @ A Skeptic
    1st- Go walk the Leon County jail yard/play basketball there since it is public property. You will be safe since there are guards and officers there.
    2nd- There are hundreds of kids that use that track and fields: PE classes, football, track, lacrosse, soccer, etc (boys and girls teams) AND middle school events take place at high school facilities
    3rd- Why should school/LCS be responsible for repairing damage and over use from public use? You fuss about that money they spent on the track and fields yet you want to wear them out and require more funds to be used on maintenance due to over use?
    4th- The city and county spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on salaries alone to maintain their “public open spaces” LCS has maybe 5 employees to handle all the fields at all the schools.
    5th- I can see your angle from a safety concern but those examples are so few and far between. It’s like me saying, I am not driving anymore because I might die in a car wreck. Possible- YES, Likely- NO
    6th- If you think FL/LCS spends too much money on athletics, you better not research Ga and most other states…

  3. @CrazyWorld — I’m not sure what your issue is.

    Public property is public property. The downtown sidewalks aren’t reserved for the exclusive use of adjacent businesses, they’re there for everybody. The roads that run up and down everwhere aren’t reserved for for local citizens, they’re available to everyone — even the EVs that don’t pay the federal taxes embedded in the price of gasoline.

    The high school tracks are “wide open spaces”. Good visibility, good natural lighting, nearly a zero percent chance of a dangerous object on the track and near zero serious crime rates. Look at number of women that have “disappeared” nationally while on or near a walking trail. What’s the common theme there? Limited visibility and numerous ambush points.

    Sorry, but those taxpayer dollars don’t pay for outdoor facilities that are for the exclusive use of the 100 or so kids at the school that are part of the football and/or track program. There’s absolutely no justification for a taxpayer funded $100,000 per child expenditure for “a game”.

  4. There’ll be a homeless encampment set up in no time. Morgan and Morgan… For the Morgans. Boys be banking some quan real soon.

  5. I’m confused–why can’t people use all the parks, trails, sidewalks we already have in Leon County to walk/run? Same with tennis/basketball courts and other fields. Does using the track or any other school resource make you feel empowered or cool? Do you want LCS to just leave the gyms open as well so the public can use the goals? Are you allowed to just show up at the county jail and use their outdoor basketball goals just because it’s funded by taxpayer money? The uproar over people wanting there to be open campuses after school hours to use the amenities is absurd. Correct me if I am wrong but weren’t those facilities built for the students of Leon County and not any Bob, Dick, or Harry that wants to use them?
    And don’t tell me it’s for convenience…if you don’t live near an amenity you want to use that is your fault for purchasing a home there.

  6. With youth engaging in rampant crime across the city, it’s about time to look at creative means to use their destructive energies to more athletics in places like our public-paid-for athletic facilities.

    Security costs? Certainly maintaining security personnel is considerable less than the results of all the off-court, off-field criminal alternative activities!

    The city, county and LCSB need to jointly meet and discuss these alternative means of reducing criminal behavior.

  7. Adding to A Skeptic’s list, most mornings at 7:00am you’ll find a field moistened with dew. That will make all that high-priced turf quite slippery. I’m certain Morgan & Morgan will be standing on the side-lines handing out business cards to those that slip and get injured.

  8. There’s so much wrong with this I don’t know where to begin.

    * The School Board spent millions on vanity carpeting for high school athletic fields.
    * The per year cost of that vanity carpet far exceeds natural turf and board lied about that.
    * The School Board wanted to protect the “investment” by not allowing civilians to use the fields.
    * The School Board decided to put a pilot program in at Leon High, trying to appease voters.
    * The School Board chose two 4-hour windows beginning at 7AM. Most civilian use is in the evenings.
    * The School Board then decided that they might expand the program to a second High School, also with the same ridiculous 7AM window.

    Methinks that the impotent School Board somehow thinks that elected officers makes them rulers, not representatives.


  9. Just put up a sign, “Enter At Your Own Risk, Not Responsible For………………..” I drive by there on the Weekends sometimes and I see people of all ages using the Tennis Courts all the time.

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