A committee of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education voted last week to recommend the district spend $1.7 million on improvements to athletic facilities including a practice field at Reynolds High School adjacent to Hanes Park.
The school board is expected to vote on the recommendation at its next meeting Sept. 28.
If approved, the improvements would bring some relief to athletes at Reynolds who travel off-campus for games and practices because of a lack of on-campus facilities.
The proposed practice field at Reynolds would be 200-by-400 feet, enough for two teams to conceivably practice at the same time. The field would include lights, benches, football goals, a high-quality turf and irrigation.
The site, near the new Wiley Middle School gym, has been identified as a possible home for a new football stadium for Reynolds, which plays its home games at Deaton-Thompson Stadium off Clemmonsville Road.
Some people in the Reynolds community have pushed for years for the high school to have an on-campus football stadium. However, that has been met with resistance from some people in the surrounding neighborhood who say there isn’t enough parking in the area to accommodate football crowds.
Other critics say the school district has more pressing facilities needs.
If the practice fields are built, it doesn’t necessarily mean the stadium will follow, but it does put some pieces in place for that to happen.
The improvements at Reynolds would cost $895,000. Winston-Salem Prep would get improvements to its track, lighting, bleachers and a scoreboard at a cost of $419,000; and Parkland would get improvements to a practice field, lights, a scoreboard and goalposts for $399,500.
The district would use $500,000 in savings from the Wiley gym project, expected to be finished this year; and $1.2 million from fund balance to pay for the projects.
Darrell Walker, the assistant superintendent of operations, told the building and grounds committee that some sports teams at Reynolds, such as soccer and field hockey, could use the proposed practice field for games.
That field could be ready for use by next summer, he said.
In addition, the committee voted to ask the district to look for ways to pay for a storm water system that would be installed under the practice field at Reynolds.