Construction of new track OKed by school board; four coaches hired

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 15, 2007 - The Sulphur Springs school board took a step toward improving the district's athletic facilities by voting unanimously Monday night to build a new 400-meter track.

The Board of Trustees also approved four new coaches.

The track will be situated on vacant property owned by the school district west of Gladys Alexander Drive, across the street from the SSHS football practice fields.

The school board voted to accept the lowest of four bids submitted for the track project. The lowest bid was from Texas Sports Builders of Burleson for $542,980. It was about $100,000 below the next-lowest proposal.

Texas Sports Builders have installed tracks at Forney, Monahans, University Park and Tolar.

SSISD Superintendent Patsy Bolton said Tuesday that the construction costs included city-mandated plans for water run-off and floodwater prevention. The structure will also be fenced.

"We're very pleased about this coming to fruition," Bolton said. "It's been about three years in the making."

The SSISD currently has a track at the middle school, but it is still set on a 440-yard distance rather than meters, and parts of the track are virtually unusable because of cracks in the track's foundation that have broken the surface. The condition is aggravated by the number of participants using the facility during track season.

Middle school and high school athletes have used the same track for years, but since four lanes in the north turn cannot be used because of the cracks and breaks, it puts even more traffic on the other parts of the facility.

The track will include runways and pits for jumps and vaults.

The track should be built by next spring, when track season opens. It will not be ready for interschool meets, however, because lights, restrooms, concessions and spectator stands are not part of the original bid.

In other matters, the board approved recommendations for four new high school coaches, including the head boys basketball and head volleyball coaches who are husband-and-wife.

Braughn Curtis and Rachel Curtis, who both currently work in the Garland ISD, were hired as head coaches.

Braughn is assistant coach at Lakeview Centennial, which went to the playoffs this year out of District 10-5A with an 18-14 record. The Patriots were 9-5 in district.

He will take over for Rusty Harden, who was promoted to assistant principal at SSHS after one year at the helm of the Wildcats. Curtis will teach math.

Rachel, who will teach health, comes to SSHS from Sachse Middle School, where she was the head coach. She will take over for Christi Funk, who accepted a teaching-only position at SSMS after giving birth to her first child in the spring.

Klint King, the son of retiring SSHS principal Chuck King, will teach history and coach football. He is taking the spot of Rahn Smith, who is moving to the metroplex. King, an SSHS graduate and standout football player at safety and quarterback for the Wildcats, recently graduated from Southwest Baptist University. He played safety for the Bearcats.

Bruce Silman was also hired as an assistant football coach and social studies teacher. Silman, whose wife is employed at Lamar Elementary, comes to SSHS from Cooper. He takes the place of Rob Shipley.

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