Students on the Thomson-McDuffie Middle School football team now have a new practice field on their campus.
McDuffie County Board of Education members recently approved the use of the field and the purchase of a metal storage building to hold the equipment. The practice field site was graded and prepared for future use at the time the school was built three years ago. But the middle school team had continued to use the original practice field behind the tennis courts on Main Street because it was closer to the middle school location at that time.
Because schools were consolidated this year and sixth through eighth grades are now housed on White Oak Road, Principal Neal Tam said it only made sense to keep the students on campus for practices.
To do so would eliminate "the need to transport 80 students across town each afternoon.
In addition, it would allow student-athletes who are in need of tutoring to attend tutoring sessions and still report to practice. Time will not be lost in transporting... phones will be available for contacting parents... and administrators will most likely be on the premises."
"The positives of being able to practice on our campus far outweigh the cost of a permanent storage facility," Mr. Tam said in a letter of request to the school superintendent.
Bids from four businesses were obtained on the costs of a storage building. Board members approved awarding the bid to Chalker's Auto in Thomson for a metal storage building costing $4,510 and a concrete pad to Thomson Construction Company for $1,053, with the cost of the entire project totaling $5,563.
"And that will save us more money because we won't be running buses across town every day," Superintendent Jim LeBrun said during the last school board meeting.
Board member Bob Smith expressed a desire to see games played on the middle school campus eventually, and plans are in the works to prepare fields and hold baseball/softball practices on campus. Those practices are currently held at Sweetwater Park.