MORGAN -- The Morgan County School Board has decided on tentative hours for public use of the new Trojan Century Center when it opens April 15.
"Let the public in," board member Neil Carrigan said. "They are excited."
The 46,000-square-foot facility features a two-lane rubberized track, a full-sized composite court, a turf field, two classrooms, offices, a conference room and storage areas. The facility will be equipped for basketball, volleyball, tennis, wrestling, badminton, dodge ball, soccer, softball, flag football and track.
"The center will allow physical education students the opportunity to participate in expanded fitness activities. Before its construction, those students were often crowded in two to three individual classes held in the high school gymnasium simultaneously," Superintendent Ken Adams said.
"The facility uses innovative and cost-effective construction processes that provide much-needed space for students at manageable cost to the taxpayers."
Initially, the public will be allowed to walk the rubberized track weekday mornings from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. free of charge.
Adams said the facility will likely be viewed as a part of Morgan High School and managed by its athletic director under the direction of the district.
As such, the facility will be available to students from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on school days. Until 6 p.m., teams sponsored by the high school have first priority at the center.
County recreation programs can begin using the center May 1, with the most likely time slot being 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays as long as high school teams don't need the facility.
District officials also plan to open the center from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Fees for nonschool groups are temporarily set at a $25 per hour rental fee and an additional $25 hourly supervision fee, for a total of $50 per hour. Commercial groups would be charged $100 an hour rental fee plus a $50 supervision fee.
"Our goal was never to make money, but we want to cover all the hidden costs," school board Chairman Joey Skinner said.
The schedule will be on a trial period of sorts until the school board meets in June to review use, policies and fee schedules. At that meeting, the board may consider renting the facility to noncounty, commercial recreation groups.
So far, however, the board is hesitant to allow competition groups to hold games at the center. A lack of spectator seating as well as the possibility that small children could damage facilities caused many board members pause.
Board member Bruce Galbraith said he spoke with administrators of a similar facility in Bear River.
"They stopped all competition teams, all competitive activities other than practices. They felt it was the worst thing they could allow to take place," Galbraith said. "Competition teams destroyed the facility with people without seating and with kids there running around unmanaged."
Board members agreed that hiring district employees to help supervise the center would help curb abuses.