By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

A $300,000 no-interest loan, offered by Wheatland Electric, was recently accepted by the Scott Community USD 456 Board of Education and will provide the funding for a new football field house and tennis courts.

The loan stipulates that construction for any portion of the project must be started within a year after receipt of the money.

According to Scott Community High School Athletic Director Randy Huck, the school has yet to hire an architect but a committee comprised of superintendent Don Wells, board members Lynette Robinson, Eric Erven and Huck will be making recommendations in the near future.

The plans reflect recent discussions at board meetings about upgrading the current facility at Otis Darner Field.

"We're looking at replacing the exiting brick building on the north end," said Huck. "The home and visitors dress there together and it is very crowded. The visiting team just doesn't have much room, it's not a large area for them."

The existing building has approximately 4,000 square feet and Huck said the plans would call for a similar-sized building on the same location just for the home town Beavers. Plans could also include a dressing room facility on the south end of the football field for visiting teams. Huck said there would be dressing rooms for officials as well, who now have to be transported back and forth from the football field to the high school by Huck.

"This would also allow us to have adequate storage for equipment," Huck said. "We're kind of land-locked on that north end so there's not a lot of options as far as space where it can be located."

Huck said that six new tennis courts could be built to the west of the current high school. When the school hosts a tennis event, they utilize three courts at the high school, two at the middle school and two at Palmer Park.

"We're spread out all over town and the logistics are not very good," Huck said. "It's not convenient for anyone players, school officials, fans. We've got space for about six courts and replace the ones we have."

Huck said that to construct both locker facilities and the tennis courts would likely cost more than $300,000.

"We're trying to get an idea of what the cost would be," Huck said. "Obviously, with the loan we want to get started as quickly as possible. The maximum time frame would be 2012 based upon the time frame for the loan to be used. Hopefully, we'll have things going earlier."

Huck said he has had input from his coaching staff who have visited other facilities when they have traveled to out of town games.

"I think they know what they would like," Huck said of his football staff. "I think it's going to be an awfully good improvement on what we have."

The Beavers football program has been one of the most successful in western Kansas for the past two decades. In the past four and one-half seasons under coach Glenn O'Neil, the Beavers are 33-8 and made the quarterfinals of the Class 3A playoffs each season.

"Certainly, our football program would be deserving of this kind of facility," Huck said. "I think everyone is excited about what the new facility will do for both our kids, the visiting teams and the officials."

Another option under consideration include construction of the field houses on the east side of the access road behind the visitor's bleachers which are located on the east side of Darner Field.

The most recent upgrade to the stadium facilities included a new track installed in the spring of 2009. When Scott Community High School opened its new school doors six years ago, there also was a new weight facility for its student-athletes.