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|Conditions at OPHS softball complex concern parents|
Several Ouachita Parish High School softball players' parents are upset with the condition of the school's softball complex, and they want the school board to make improvements to the complex.
Morgan Simmons, the mother of a sophomore student at the high school, brought the matter before the school board during its regular meeting Tuesday.
She said other schools such as Sterlington and West Monroe have softball complexes to be proud of.
"We have rusted stands, no bathrooms - we have to use port-a-potties - and it's not acceptable," Simmons said. "It's really sad to have schools come in and see what we have when other schools in our parish have complexes that are so much better."
She showed the school board pictures of Sterlington's and West Monroe's facilities as well and how they compared to the complex at Ouachita Parish High School.
"Our field is not that bad, but our backdrop is old and we're asking for any help to address this issue," Simmons said. "We just feel like we're getting pushed back further and further and we think this should be a priority."
School board member Red Simms agreed that compared to other facilities, Ouachita Parish High School's softball complex is lacking.
He remembers when West Ouachita High School softball players had to dress in their cars before they got needed improvements at their softball complex. He said the Ouachita girls are in the same situation. He agreed the matter should be addressed.
Superintendent Dr. Bob Webber said Ouachita High School parents can expect improvements now that voters recently approved a $30-million bond extension to build two new schools and renovate the existing school facilities in eastern Ouachita Parish.
"We're going to make it nice … we just got the money and we'll begin doing some projects over the spring and summer," Webber said.
Kenneth Slusher, school board safety and construction coordinator, said the school system added a new fence around the girls' softball field this year because it has been waiting on further direction from Ouachita High School officials and coaches on what to do next.
Slusher suggested school board officials meet with the coaches and principals at Ouachita High School to determine what is needed to get those projects slated for summer work.