ROCK SPRINGS — Using Sweetwater County School District #1 facilities for athletics and other activities may cost leagues and individuals more during the next school year.
The district’s Board of Trustees listened to a presentation tonight from central administrators about the need to increase fees across the board in order to maintain the integrity of those facilities.
A systematic process that will allow coaches and others to reserve their practice spaces online will go into effect July 1, and if the board approves the administration’s recommendation, the fee increase will begin on September 1.
The system will also allow those using the facilities to pay for them right at the time they reserve them.
According to Chief Information Officer Stephanie Tolman, 1,718 facility use forms were issued in the 2018-19 school year. More than 1,100 of those requested were made for activities after 6 p.m.
“These facilities are being used like crazy all day, and all the way up to 11 o’clock at night,” Tolman told the board. “There’s a lot of folks that use this. The great thing about the program we’re using is that we’re going to be able to track that, organize it and get better data over the next year with it.”
Tolman laid out three different fee schedule scenarios that the board could consider:
Director of Facilities Dan Selleroli said one of the biggest issues is finding the custodial staff to clean up after events. He said its often hard to find people who want to work part-time with no benefits after late events.
He is proposing the district hire three part-time and two full-time custodians to assure that event cleanup is done properly regardless of the time events take place.
Several coaches in the community expressed their opposition to the fee increase during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Top of the Rock Wrestling coach Cody Fletcher said that increasing the costs to underprivileged youth would deter them from participating.
“Our fees are not very high. But if we go to some of those fees being proposed we are probably going to lose some of those kids we have right now,” Fletcher said. “It puts those kids back out on the streets where they have no job to do, where these sports are a main part of their lives to stay out of trouble.”
Youth basketball coaches Dirk Anderson and Mike Hansen both echoed the same sentiment in saying that they’re teams comprise a small number of players, and a fee increase would all but end their ability to continue playing.
While the coaches agreed that a facility fee is necessary to maintain the gyms, classrooms, pools, fields, and auditoriums, they asked the board to consider a sliding scale to accommodated teams of all sizes.
The board of trustees will hold a second public hearing on the matter during a special meeting on June 24. They will not vote on the measure until the August regular meeting.