HOULKA – The Chickasaw County School Board has repeatedly looked at ways to build a football field for the Wildcats and looked close to having a home field for Houlka this fall.
But costs to build a field and finding property big enough and close enough to the school to handle the venue have apparently stalled the project once again.
The Chickasaw Board of Trustees voted last week to return a plot of property to Collums Furniture after the district’s plans to build a football field adjacent to the city baseball fields hit a snag. The district has been told it could cost up to $500,000 to grade and fence the property and to erect bleachers and a fieldhouse.
The district and local football boosters met this summer to dedicate a proposed football field off of Highway 32 in northeast Houlka. In November school board trustees discussed that the property might not be big enough for a field house, football field and practice field.
School Board Attorney Jimmy Hood had drawn up paperwork that would allow Collums Furniture to deed the land to the district and the district to turn around and deed the property to the City of New Houlka.
Hood said moving the property to different parties in this fashion was necessary to get the land in the city’s name for maintenance purposes. Hood also pointed out the land-swap allowed each entity to get what they need to manage their property.
The action the board took last week was to agree not to proceed at this point and get property rights back into the hands of the original owners.
The variables in the project have repeatedly prompted changes as the district tries to hold down costs and make wise decisions.
Trustee Kenneth Linton said the district has been told they have an easement to build a road and Chickasaw County has tentatively agree to help with dirtwork. Linton also said as the program grows, parking may become an issue.
Trustee Jamie Earp has said he is not sure everything the district wants to build will fit on the property and the district could be looking for more land in a year or two.
Trustee Pam Butler said until the district gets all questions answered she feels the district doesn’t need an immediate decision.
In other business:
• The board named Ruby Hollin to a second term as board president and kept Michelle Collums as vice president and Jamie Earp as board secretary. This was a departure from the board’s previous policy of rotating offices among board members. The votes for new officers were unanimous and without controversy.
• The board also named Jimmy Hood as board attorney. Hood said this may be his last term as board attorney and urged the district to begin looking for new legal counsel.
• The board approved the hiring of Rose Lyles as a contract worker for $35 per hour to oversee an intervention program to help students improve reading skills.
• The board approved the monthly docket of claims, financial statements and previous minutes.
• Trustees also approved monthly travel, fundraisers and field trips.
• The board entered executive session to discuss their annual evaluation of Superintendent Betsy Collums.