School board rejects ‘donor level’ status

By BETH BUNCH,

During Monday’s meeting, the Lamar County School District board unanimously rejected a request from the Oak Grove Warrior Club to create a “donor level” that would include naming a building at Oak Grove High School not currently named.

According to District Supt. Tess Smith, the request had to do with new turf for the stadium. 

The issue was brought up for discussion, at which time board members noted this was something that had been addressed before.

“I don’t think we need to get in the habit of naming buildings after businesses,” District C board member Jeremy Chance said. “We crossed this bridge with another building at Oak Grove, the volleyball building, last year or the year before and that’s my thought. I don’t agree with a business.” 

Board President Buddy Morris said it was requested at that time that the building possibly be named after a business. 

“We denied that then because we didn’t think we should be using our school facilities as billboards,” he said.

Smith questioned whether board members would be opposed to placing a plaque on a building, like is done when a new building is constructed and lists the superintendent, board members, etc. with a line stating “the following donated to this facility.”

“I would never be opposed to that,” Chance said. “I think when you have big donors, you should recognize them.”

Other members felt a plaque or sign on a fence would be appropriate for such a donation. 

The Warrior Club was given permission to move forward on their fundraising efforts for new turf for the stadium (Phase 1) and Harry Breland field (Phase 2) during the board’s last call-in meeting.

 During the March meeting, Warrior Club representative Sean Little presented the club’s two-phase plan to the board which would entail replacing the 12-year-old turf currently in the stadium and possibly add turf to the Harry Breland baseball field.

The stadium turf is currently four years past its guarantee and lifespan.

“The need for the turf for the stadium is great,” Little told the board.  “It’s time and probably a little past time. But we’ve been able to make it work and it’s worked well. Because of safety and other benefits, it’s time for consideration for that to be done.”

The board is moving forward with its fundraising drive.