Panel discusses safety fencing for baseball dugouts

By Anthony Cloud acloud@civitasmedia.com

March 21, 2014

Possible safety concerns were discussed regarding Bell County High School’s baseball dugouts during the regular school board meeting on Tuesday. The board approved a motion to install fencing in front of the dugouts.

The discussion arose because of the possibility of a foul tipped ball flying into the dugout and striking a player. According to Title I Supervisor Jeff Saylor, a similar incident occurred last spring in Fayette County when a young lady was struck with a batted ball in the dugout. Saylor said Fayette County is now putting fences up in front of all their dugouts.

“I can tell you right now that your coaches…don’t like that fencing in front of the dugout,” said Saylor. “From a liability standpoint, I wanted to bring it to you all.”

There was a short discussion about possibly putting netting instead of a fence, but the board determined there is no guarantee the netting would hold up.

Saylor said the National High School Federation is reluctant to put out a mandate for fencing in front of dugouts because there are so many fields that don’t have it.

“They see a need for it, but they see it also as an unfunded mandate to all these schools to upgrade their facilities,” said Saylor.

In the fall, the board approved fencing in front of the softball dugouts at Bell Central.

The board also passed a motion agreeing they have found a bus garage facility is a need for the district, and they want the LPC to reconvene to consider adding one to the district facility plan.

Saylor said when the district facility plan was completed they saw no hope of being able to either purchase or build a new bus garage, so it was left out of the plan. The project was projected to cost well over $2 million.

Saylor said in order to purchase a bus garage facility it had to be added to the facility plan.

An update was given on the Page School Center turning lane project during the meeting. Saylor said because of the changes that were made to the project, the state is in the process of redesigning the southbound entrance to the school.

The design process is expected to take a decent amount of time. There are plans to begin work in June and have the project completed by next July.

Anthony Cloud can be reached at 606-248-1010, ext. 1125 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN.