Ocoee Middle School, Lee University look for athletic facility partnership

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG

Posted 12/13/17

The Bradley County Board of Education is looking at partnering with Lee University to provide collegiate-quality athletic facilities for both entities. Dr. Paul Conn, president of Lee …

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Ocoee Middle School, Lee University look for athletic facility partnership

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The Bradley County Board of Education is looking at partnering with Lee University to provide collegiate-quality athletic facilities for both entities. 

Dr. Paul Conn, president of Lee University, proposed the partnership during the school board's work session Tuesday. 

Years ago, the university and the local school system signed an agreement to revamp the baseball field at Ocoee Middle School, which is close to Lee's campus. Lee paid for upgrades to the field at OMS. In return, the university gets to use the field for its games. 

Conn is proposing doing something similar with the track at OMS, as Lee is in need of a practice space for its NCAA Division II track and field teams. 

"It's remarkable Lee even has a track and field program, because we don't have a track and field," said Conn. 

He asked the school board to consider granting Lee "an agreement in principle," so Lee staff can begin exploring what changes would likely be made — and at what cost. Conn would approach the university's board with this information, and eventually return to the school board to seek its approval. 

He also asked the board to consider a separate request to make improvements to the baseball field, known as Olympic Field. These improvements would include the addition of stadium-style seating to replace the metal bleachers and upgrades to the locker rooms and restrooms. 

OMS Principal Ron Spangler told the board he is in favor of these ideas, as these projects would benefit the middle school students. As they do now with the baseball field, Spangler and Lee staff would get together to work out athletic schedules which work for both institutions. 

Bradley County Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash and members of the school board praised these ideas and said they appreciate Lee's willingness to partner in this way.

"It's phenomenal," Cash said. "This is a win-win for both groups." 

This matter will be on the agenda for the board's voting session later this week. 

Other agenda items include architect contracts, proposed resolutions on state-level education issues and a proposal to allow a physical therapy company to provide on-campus therapy to athletes at Bradley Central High School. 

The board meets Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Bradley County Schools Administrative Office, located at 800 South Lee Highway. 


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