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"Please Don't Forget Olympic!"

(February 17, 2007) Blaine Wallace, President of the Olympic High School Sports Booster Club spoke before the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board on February 13 at the Public Hearing on the Ten Year Capital Project Plan. Costs for improvements to Olympic athletic facilities were included in the bond issue that failed in 2005, but Olympic athletic facilities are not among the highest priority projects that currently are proposed to be funded by the 2007 bond.

Here's what Blaine had to say:

Good Evening,

Let me first introduce myself. My name is Blaine Wallace. I am the current president of the Olympic High School Athletic Booster Club. I am a life long Steele Creek resident and a 1977 graduate of Olympic High School. I have one son who graduated from Olympic in 2003 and another who will hopefully graduate in June of 2008.

I am here to today to address this board concerning the 10-year growth plan for CMS and how it relates to Olympic High School. But first let me give you some information about Olympic. The Steele Creek community, of which Olympic lies within, is truly a diverse and integrated community. Olympic is probably the most naturally diverse high school within the CMS system. Olympic is truly a part of the Steele Creek community and in turn its facilities are used by the neighborhood in many ways. In addition to Olympicís sports teams our faculties are used by other groups all year long. The American Legion as well as many youth and adult leagues use our baseball field. The Steele Creek Athletic Association, a childrenís wrestling team and several AAU basketball teams use our gyms. In times of crisis, the Red Cross and Home Land Security have used our gyms as relief shelters. The Trojan Classic, our marching band's yearly competition, uses the stadium to help raise funds for their programs. The ROTC uses the stadium as a parade ground for their competitions. Steele Creek Elementary School uses the field to host their Fall Festival and a kidís football league uses the field during the fall. As you can see Olympic is part of the community and is used regularly.

But our parents and students are frustrated! We are frustrated that when we go to Audrey Kell, you see a football field of plush carpet. In a stadium that is the envy of many junior colleges much less other high schools in our area. Then we return home to play on a field of Bermuda grass, dirt and mud in a stadium that can be best described as very old, inadequate and substandard and has no handicap accessible seating, old worn out restrooms, bleachers and concession stand.

Our parents and students are disappointed! We are disappointed that when we have a home track meet we must go to Waddell High School. We are disappointed because our track is cracked, torn up and too small to host an event. Our parents and students are disheartened! We are disheartened that when we attend a baseball game at South Mecklenburg we see a field that is properly lighted. We see a new backstop, fencing and bleachers. Then we return home to cinderblock dugouts, a concession stand with no running water, no restroom faculties and unsafe bleachers.

Our parents and students are disillusioned that we must continue to come up with money to replace old equipment. That we must raise funds and rebuild a baseball backstop that was unsafe. That we must replace a wrestling mat that was over twenty years old and worn out. That we must upgrade a weight room or put up a windscreen on a softball field. But we are even more disappointed that we know that we can only do a small part.

Our parents and students are upset! We are upset that two years ago, Olympic was a priority on the bond issue. Now we are second thought and are not going to be included in Novemberís bond. We are upset that newer schools improvements have moved ahead of Olympic on the priority list. Where is the logic? We know that new schools have to be built to relieve overcrowding, but there has to be a concentrated effort to maintain older schools too.

In the current ten-year growth plan there is a new high school scheduled to be built in lower Steele Creek. Although this school is several years away, it is our fear that when the school is built Olympic will be ancient history! All the resources and money of the community will be funneled away from Olympic. The bright shinny penny will get all the glory, while the dull old penny will be left behind. Please donít forget Olympic. OLYMPIC NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT NOW! Most of Olympicís parents realize that any improvements that happen will probably happen long after our kids have graduated. We are concerned for the future! We are not looking for ďTaj MahalĒ standards, although that would be nice. We only ask that you commit to maintain and upgrade all schools. That our children are given the same opportunities and faculties that other schools within CMS offer.

Thank you.

Also read what Scott Whitfield and Lauren Seborowski, students at the Olympic Community of Schools, had to say at the Public Hearing: "We Believe in Olympic Community of Schools."

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