Play Place Puzzle

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

When coaches at Ironton High School and Junior High talk about making some changes this season, they may not be talking about what type of offense or defense they plan to use.

The construction of the new city schools is under way and students will be housed in different buildings this fall. Those moves coupled with the demolition of the old high school along with the old gymnasium will cause a few changes in the place where teams practice and play games.

“I hope the people understand that the next few years will be different. We have no choice,” said Mark Vass. “The coaches seem to be understanding and working well with the situation.

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“We looked at the schedules and the facilities and discussed with everybody involved the situation and then came up with the best way to handle it. It’s pretty cut and dry as to what facilities are available and what facilities are needed. Once you recognize that, then you make decisions based on those factors and go with it.”

The immediate changes will come once fall sports begin.

The varsity and freshmen football teams will continue to practice at their current sites, but the junior high — which will be housed in the Conley Sports Center — will practice nearby on the lot behind Central Christian Church.

Cross country and girls’ tennis will not be effected, but the girls high school volleyball will remain at the current high school building on Delaware Street since the gym floor has floor settings for the net standards.

There are no standard settings at the Sports Center that has a rubberized floor.

“They have said if we cut into the floor and try to put in standards, it could ruin the floor,” said Vass. “The floor was the biggest factor in the decision, but it’s also nice that the girls are right there in the building.

“Ideally, we’d like to put down a wood floor and get some new bleachers in the future.”

With the junior high in the Sports Center, the girls’ basketball team will practice and play its home games in the gym.

However, the boys’ junior high will remain at the old middle school site while the high school boys and girls teams will be at the Sports Center.

Vass said the biggest concern is the freshmen who practiced and played in the old high school’s gym.

“We may play a lot of triple-headers at home with the freshman at 5 o’clock and then the jayvees at six followed by the varsity,” said Vass.

“As of right now those are the tentative plans, but you never know what might happen and force us to change our plans. We’re doing the best we can with the limitations we have.”

Once the new schools are completed, Vass expects a return to normalcy. He said there are additional plans on the table to improve other facilities in the not too distant future.

“It’s going to be inconvenient for a year or so, but I think everyone understands and accepts that because they know what lies ahead at the end of the tunnel,” said Vass.

“We have a plan and I think everything will work out. You never know because you don’t know what might happen. It’s a matter of getting organized and getting schedules together.”