Dalton Smith, Preston Collins, Jeff Allen
Fairmont and Kettering City Schools have always been dedicated to providing students with the best possible environment to excel in across the district. The Fairmont athletic department is working hard to continue providing those opportunities to all student-athletes.
Maintenance, renovations, updates and improvements have been a constant focus for Phil Hacker, the Head of Facilities and Grounds for the district. The summer of 2016 will be consumed with more projects than usual.
“This spring, as soon as the weather breaks, we’ll be laying down the new turf at Roush,” Hacker said, “and in July, we intend to sand down the entire Trent Arena floor.”
For Chris Weaver, the Athletic Director at Fairmont, the turf is a necessary update. “That field has been showing a lot of wear. It’s became more of a need than a want.”
The new surface is only one of multiple changes for the field. There have been new wind screens installed along the fence on the visitor side of the field. In addition to that, there will be new goal posts, said Weaver.
The new turf will take a large chunk out of the Permanent Improvement Fund that generates around $650,000 a year. “The turf’s a $398,000 project,” said Ken Lackey, the Director of Business Services for the district.
But, football isn’t the only sport seeing updates at their facilities. “We have 27 different varsity sport programs and we have a lot of different facilities, so it takes a lot of people to manage and do a nice job with them,” Weaver said.
This July, Trent Arena will be shut down for a month. It’ll be sanded down, repainted, resealed and it should last another eight to ten years. The whole process will cost a total of $24,500.
Along with the maintenance at Roush and in Trent, the baseball field will be stripped. “We’ll level it and provide better drainage,” Weaver said, “and out on our tennis court now, if you’re a tennis player and you don’t have anyone to play with, we were able to install a hitting wall, which was designed and made and constructed here.”
In addition, new PA systems have been put in at the soccer and track field facility as well as the field hockey field.
These improvements are just the beginning of a long list of changes. “At Fairmont, there will be concrete improvements, flooring changes, painting improvements and redecorating,” Hacker said.
That redecorating includes brand new banners at Trent Arena, and in the lobby outside of the athletic office, there will be new record boards which will finally be uniform and consistent in the way they look.
These improvements, said Weaver, are a way to thank the members of our athletic department. “It’s branding your facilities and your department. It’s important because it makes coaches and athletes feel as if they’re appreciated.”
Maintaining buildings and facilities is important and Kettering strives to stay in the lead when it comes to neighboring districts and venues.
“We care about these facilities and we want to continue to make sure we have the best for our athletes and our district,” Weaver said.
Changes this year go beyond just Fairmont, other schools will be seeing renovations as well.
“In May, we’ll be building solar panels on the Kettering Middle School,” Hacker said. Plans for the north and south units to have panels installed has been an idea discussed for a long time. But, more recently the goal has become a reality.
The panels are projected to save the district a significant portion of the average electricity cost. “The solar panels would generate about 30% of the electricity for both KMS and Indian Rifle,” Lackey said.
But the idea of energy conservation is nothing new. “Our electric consumption dropped 33% in the last few years after swapping in more efficient lights,” Hacker said. “The money that has been saved has been going towards other improvement projects.”
Updates are always in the works. “We change things on a regular basis. We’re constantly working on improvements and maintenance,” Hacker said.
Weaver agrees that the updates are constant throughout the district. “Every day, every week we continue to try to do something to keep our facilities in the best shape possible.”
“The district’s support of its students is shown through how the facilities are being taken care of,” Weaver said. “Facilities are a big piece of what we do because we want our community and our student-athletes to know that we’re doing everything we can to support them and provide them with the resources and the tools necessary to compete.”