by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

The Harrison County School Board of Trustees changed one policy among athletic activities Monday night while amending the other during the global pandemic of COVID-19 (coronavirus) at the Henry Arledge Administration Building of the school district.

When Harrison County School District Athletic Director Averie Bush stepped forward, he address the school board first on the updates of the spring athletic facilities and where each school stood after sustaining serious damage from Hurricane Zeta near the end of 2020.

“We are focused on getting these places playable,” stated Bush at Monday night’s meeting in Gulfport.  “We will go from West Harrison to Harrison Central and finish at D’Iberville making sure ball field are playable.”

School Board Member David Ladner inquired about the windscreen from the West Harrison field and if this happened to be in the quote approved by the school board, Bush replied that it wasn’t in the quote.  Bush mentioned the West Harrison Booster Club previously purchased this, but the county had these installed.

In a motion to change the school board policy during the pandemic, Ladner asked for the school district to start allowing senior passes for all spring sports.  Even with Harrison County Superintendent Roy Gill and Bush deliberating about being against the inconsistency of the policy change for the fourth largest school district in the state, the board approved 3-2 with President Dr. Barbara Thomas and Board Member Eric Simmons being in dissent.

Bush followed the change with notification of upcoming district basketball playoffs next week, as the state has declared after each game the gymnasium is to be cleaned and sanitized.  Therefore a ticket will need to be bought for each game, unless someone has a state pass.

Capacity has been recently tough; according to Bush because of Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves executive order tightening capacity restrictions at indoor sporting events such as basketball games from 25% of an arena’s capacity to 10% with a maximum attendance of 1,000 on December 10, 2020.

School Board Member and Former President Rena Wiggins addressed the digital tickets sales as not being easy yet.

“Most people are not comfortable with digital tickets yet,” expressed Wiggins.  “I like the idea and know we need to get there eventually.”  After the statement, Wiggins motioned the option of paying cash for tickets at the gate and passed on a 4-1 vote with Dr. Thomas dissenting.

In other actions, the school board unanimously authorized payments of $4500 to Valbridge Property Advisors for certified appraisal on 16th section properties located on County Farm, Creosote Road, and Community Roads.  The Community Road approval came with a lease agreement between the school district and the Singing River Health Systems.

Additionally, an advertisement that sealed bid proposals for canopy and awning repair was approved by the board.  This project will include Hurricane Zeta storm damage, repairs and new canopies.

Finally, $667,054.19 was unanimously authorized to Wharton-Smith, Inc. for the West Harrison Middle School building project.