GUEST ARTICLE: Written by Austin Rice, BCHS '22
Boyle County Schools has been expanding rapidly in the past few years, and it seems that it isn’t slowing down.
The most recent conversations have included upgrades to several sports complexes on campus. More specifically, plans include the replacement of the 12 year-old playing turf at Rebel Stadium, a brand new softball complex and the construction of tennis courts at the old fairgrounds.
Christopher Slone, the Director of Community and Family Support for the district, has been satisfied with the durability of the original surface. “The current performance field turf covering provided the students of Boyle County a safe playing/performing surface,” says Slone. “It certainly has benefited many students at all three levels of Boyle County Schools.”
Recently, the district has partnered with a new company that will manage the project. “The board of education wanted to pick a product that would perform well, look great and be as safe as possible,” Slone explained. “They chose the company Field Turf out of Georgia who will be applying the Field Turf's Vertex Prime turf surface, making Boyle the only school in the state with this particular surface.”
Slone explained that safety and appearance were two important factors as the board was making their selection. “Vertex Prime has the lowest injury incidence rate of the available artificial field surfaces. It was the board's vision to not only get a great looking field, but to get the safest possible field for its students.”
While the softball plans are very much in development, the current rendering of the complex places it directly over the asphalt area of the tennis complex. This would allow for easy access for both middle and high school softball players.
A final decision on the complex placement should be reached soon. “The board has approved the final plans and have submitted those plans to the Kentucky Department of Education for final approval,” Slone states. “If KDE approves the plans, we hope to start accepting contractor bids in April or May, with the hope of starting the project in July.”
A much needed addition to this area of the campus is also in the works. “The project also includes a spectator bathroom and concession stand.”
Softball coach Brian Deem is excited about a brand new complex to call their own. “We finally have a place that’s ours.”
Despite making seven state tournament appearances, including five Elite Eights, a third and a fourth place finish, the team has been without their own personal space.
Coach Deem is excited that his student-athletes will be provided with a new venue, but he also hopes that this will be a stepping stone expansion for other sports in need of major facility upgrades.
In addition, the tennis teams will have a new place for match play. “The City of Danville and Boyle County Schools are hoping to negotiate an agreement that would enable the tennis program to compete at a new tennis complex developed by the City at the old fairgrounds location,” says Slone, who says an agreement between the two stakeholders should be reached soon.
As of the past few years, the construction pace has been fast and furious, with the new arts and academic facilities on campus. Now, the district is stepping up to the plate to hit a home run with athletic enhancements, providing quality student experiences for years to come.