AD Keene discusses the opportunities new facilities bring

Photo+by+Maxwell+Clark

Photo by Maxwell Clark

Smoke Signals Staff

After seven years in our new school we are finally getting closer to fully enjoying our state-of-the-art total campus. “It’s been a true honor to showcase our facilities this year,” said Athletic Director Jamie Keene. “People see pictures here and there but until you go in and see everything it’s hard to imagine. I’ve been to a lot of schools in the state and there’s nothing better than what we have here.” Rachel Puckett, Editor-in-Chief, and Emma Taylor, Managing Editor, sat down with Mr. Keene to find out more about the facilities and the opportunities they will  bring.

National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS) Camera System

Q: How does the subscription to the system work?

A: There is a subscription service through NFHS, and you can do a monthly subscription service or a yearly subscription. We’re going to have the camera system in the gym, at the stadium, and at the baseball and softball fields. The NFHS system allows us to show all the athletic events that take place in those venues, which includes basketball,
volleyball, football, soccer, track, baseball, and softball.

 Q: Can people just buy a one-time subscription for events like graduation?

A: I’m going to have to check on that, I think that if we wanted to use something for graduation, where it is not an athletic event if we just let NFHS know ‘hey we’ve got this event,’ I believe they’d open it up to where if you wanted to, you could go in and watch the event for free.

Q: Are there any other schools in Kentucky using NFHS?

A: The first time I heard about it was from the athletic director from Scott County. I know that Scott County, Louisville Fairdale, Marshall County, North Bullitt, and Bullitt East use it. When I saw how Scott County used it, I became really interested and thought it would be an opportunity we could provide our supporters.

Scheduled Events

Q: What events are scheduled at our facilities this year?

A: We will host both the girls and boys 40th District basketball tournaments next week, along with the boys 10th Region Tournament the following week. That event has not been in Clark County since 1969. We also will host district in softball and that’s the last one for the year. The region tournaments are set up on a rotating basis. KHSAA contacted me and asked if we would be interested in hosting region track. I also had a meeting with KHSAA and talked about the
possibility of hosting state dance and cheer competitions next school year. If you can host large events like that, it showcases your campus and your facility, and also brings in a little tourism and economy for our community.

Best in Kentucky…

Q: As a sports lover and advocate for students, what do you think of the athletic facilities?

A: It’s an honor showcasing our facilities. They are all really something to be proud of. There are a lot of folks to thank including our Board of Education for agreeing to put this type of money into something that is so deserved by our kids and our community. It’s state of the art, the best high school campus you’ll see in Kentucky.

Q: As the athletic director, how do you feel our total campus will change our school?

A: I’m just looking forward to the opportunities to have the
majority of our sports on one campus and everyone knows where to go. I saw a shift in pride in our student body when we left our old school and came here. I’m seeing the same sense of pride shift now that the athletic facilities are opening. So I do think this will be a mindset shift in our students, and of how proud they are, and staff too. I also look forward to the opportunities of having events like pep rallies and school-wide events, including guest speakers where they can come in and the whole student body can be together and hear it at one time. We have never been able to take advantage of these opportunities. Also, why couldn’t we host concerts? Why couldn’t we have concerts on a nice night at the stadium or have them in the gym? It’ll showcase our facilities but also it brings people into our community and helps out our local businesses and everybody wins.

New Equipment

Q: What teams have received new equipment?

A: Every program got equipment, but while every program got something, some didn’t need as much
as others. For example, track had nothing, so they needed everything from scratch. Football got a lot, just because even though we had some equipment,
not all of it was good for turf, and some of it was old.

We also received new weightlifting equipment that will benefit all programs. We are very fortunate and appreciative because the Board of Education has
covered this expense.

Q: Is the purchasing of new equipment up to the coaches and booster groups?

A: We let the coaches make a wish list. The coaches looked at what they had and what they needed and what they wanted. We compiled that list and divided it into categories of needs and wants and sent it to the superintendent and let the Board of Education decide what exactly they were going to purchase. The
boosters weren’t necessarily involved in this. Each of our athletic programs gets a budget of some size.
Moving forward, if they want to purchase other
equipment, it can come out of their budget or they could raise money or boosters could pay for it, too. This has been really great because the school and the boosters weren’t out any expenses for this equipment.

New Sports

Q: What sports did the students body show interest in when they filled out the interest form earlier this year?

A:  The survey was for 8th-11th graders.
The students showed an interest in girls field hockey and wrestling. They are the two sports that KHSAA offers that we don’t offer.

Q: What factors go into decisions to add new sports?

A: Well student interest first and foremost, and we don’t necessarily have to wait until we give a survey. If there were enough students interested in starting a sport that KHSAA offers that we don’t have, we will definitely get the ball rolling at that point with a meeting. The next step after that would be that the Board
of Education would have to approve it as a sport. Then they’d have to approve a coach as a part of that salary schedule for that sport.
So it would take a little time once we decided that we have enough interest.

Q: Has limited space prevented us from adding new sports in the past?

A: I don’t know that it prevented it, but it was more difficult having limited space and sharing everything. Had there been enough student interest, we would have made it work somehow, some way. Now that we’re getting more space, I hope there is more interest to start other KHSAA sports.

We didn’t try to keep things from starting up because of lack of space. I think the more things we can get our students involved in, the better.

Q: Is it promising that we’ll get new sports added?

A: We really thought that wrestling would be on board before now. That sport has already been board approved, and we are working on the details of getting that sport at GRC. There are some sports that KHSAA doesn’t offer that were a part of the survey. Lacrosse came back with a high interest rate, but KHSAA doesn’t offer it, so now it’s not considered a sport in our state. If they offered it I think lacrosse would be coming on board.

The top 3 results on the survey were lacrosse, rifle/marksmanship, and gymnastics. I think we will see lacrosse as a KHSAA sport soon, and when it does I’m sure that we will have some interest in that, too.