Officials discuss press box

The Mexico Public School District is researching the cost to remodel its 20-year-old press box at Hawthorne Heights. The current press box has considerable weather damage and is deteriorating. The hope, school officials say, is to add a two-story addition to eliminate safety issues involved with working on top of the current structure.
The current press box was constructed in 1992 or thereabouts, according to Mitch Ridgway, district custodial, maintenance and operations director.
"The structure was put in right after the first all-weather track and now has moisture coming in through the windows and is deteriorating. It's basically a trailer put up on top a perch to serve the purpose. When they have to go on top to service the speakers it's just not a good situation," Ridgway explained. He said a new structure would allow them to place the coaches upstairs and radio people on the first floor, making it much safer.
Ridgway said district officials are still in the planning stages. The plan, he said, is to modify the existing foundation to handle the additional floor, and that engineering and planning are required to certify structural integrity. He said the current press box is not unsafe, but going on top of the structure is unsafe.
"We're simply researching the project so if there is a problem on the horizon, we will be ready (to react)," Ridgway said. "We're simply finding out what it will cost and if the Booster Club or any other organization, will help toward making it better."
Ridgway said the district is still discussing the specifics of the plan and that he has no idea what a new press box would cost. The new press box would basically be the same size as the existing structure, except it will be two stories and built a lot better and more professionally, with a catwalk attached.
The idea for the new press box, Ridgway said, has been mentioned several years as a safety issue and is one of those things the district should but hasn't done. He said the facility is not bad now, but a few years down the road it could get progressively worse.
Until the new structure is built, Ridgway said the district will continue to use the existing facility. The hope, he said, is to use the existing structure and implement footing work and beams that would be enlarged to withstand high winds. The second floor, he said, would give them double the room and a bigger facility that would not weather over time.
"It all comes down to money, and knowing what to do to make it better," Ridgway said.
In other news across the district, the staff is in the process of building a batting cage to serve the baseball/softball area at the high school. A donation was made to help with expenses of the cage, as well as the rebuilding of the pitcher's mound. The expense for the project is roughly $7,000. Part of this expense will be offset by a number of donations, Ridgway said.
Flooring has been added to the multipurpose room as well as the north weight room at the high school. The removal of the old carpeting will create a cleaner, healthier environment for these areas. The material used is extremely resilient low maintenance material and should last for many years," Ridgway noted.
The remodeling of the Hawthorne Elementary cafeteria has been completed. This project consisted of new floor tile and the addition of new tables.
The district is also adding to its website titled "Buildings and Operations." The site is designed to provide information related to building rejects and operations of MPS buildings.
"Our hope is to provide research materials and needs for projects. In addition, we have reference materials, forms and documents that are often needed by district personnel. We hope to allow information to be shared with the public a well as allow the public a venue to express support or concerns about various projects within the district," Ridgway said. "The site is still under construction but is up and running. The purpose is to allow a common site for easy future reference. The site address is id=13.