Athletic facility upgrades coming for ASH, Bolton and Peabody

Bolton and Peabody will receive new tracks while ASH will get turf fields.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - A recent $100 million bond issue passed by taxpayers in Rapides Parish last month will lead to much-needed infrastructural improvements for schools in District 62.

Part of the renovation projects includes upgrading the athletic facilities at Alexandria Senior High, Bolton and Peabody.

Bolton and Peabody High School will have a new track put down while ASH will receive turf fields for baseball, football, soccer and softball.

Rapides Parish School Board Superintendent Jeff Powell said committees and focus groups have been meeting to prioritize certain projects in each school system with the $100 million. The money has been split up between the three school systems as $40 million is going toward ASH, $30 million heading to Bolton and another $30 million going toward Peabody.

“With many of our athletic facilities, there have been no major infrastructural improvements,” said Powell. “We are excited to be able to get the ball rolling on these types of things that we know are going to continue to generate excitement in the community as well as the school.”

While ASH, Bolton and Peabody are not the only public schools in the Rapides Parish school system, they are the only schools in District 62. Powell said he would like every public school in the parish to receive upgrades to their athletic facilities, but it is in the hands of the voters.

“There are 13 separate taxing districts that make up the Rapides Parish public school system, so essentially each community still has a personal responsibility for what it is that they want out of their facility,” said Powell. “If there’s not money already in their maintenance accounts to fund those things, then we once again have to go out to the voters in those communities to see if they would support that.”

For Peabody, a resurfaced track has been long overdue as there have been no renovations made over the last 20 years. Holes in the lanes and not being up to standard with the required eight-lane track has prevented the school from hosting any meets in the past.

“The track that we have now is not an official track, and you can see the condition that it’s in,” said Charles Smith, the Athletic Director at Peabody. “Once we get a state-of-the-art track, we can host meets. We can keep our kids locally, and then the community can come out and support us.”

The process to upgrade the facilities will take some time but is expected to be complete over the next three to six years.

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