School is on summer break, but band members, parents, and alumni at McIntosh High School are fired up about a change they say isn’t fair. Since the school opened over 30 years ago, the marching band has practiced on a field at the school, particularly the baseball field. They have recently been told they will have to relocate their practices because of the ongoing damage to the grass. Band supporters do not want to relocate for the parking lot and are asking for other options.
While three of the other high schools, Fayette County, Sandy Creek, and Whitewater, hold band practice in their parking lots, the McIntosh parents say it’s not a fair comparison. The lot in front of the school is too narrow, and the lot by the gym and fields has an incline and medians that would pose a safety risk, on top of the heat of the pavement. A petition has been started on called “Give the band back their field!” aimed at getting the school and the Board of Education to rethink the change. As of mid-morning Tuesday, it had over 1,400 supporters.
On the baseball side, they say a change has been needed for some time. The baseball program, via their booster club, shared why they thought the move was proper.
Contrary to what band supporters have said, baseball supporters say the band practices have led to damage that have cost several thousands of dollars to repair the baseball field over the years. Even with repairs, the integrity of the field is altered, affecting both player safety and gameplay. The bermuda grass, a winter grass, also does not grow back by spring after it has been damaged by summer and fall practices. The program would also like to regain lost fundraising opportunities in the fall, via tournaments or otherwise, that are not available when the band is using the field.
McIntosh’s principal, Lisa Williams Fine, is not turning a deaf ear to the concerns. She confirmed that a meeting has already been scheduled for this week with the band director to discuss options for practice areas. She said they are also working on a date to gather with the band booster organization to discuss the results of that meeting.