Orchard Park School asks Antioch School Board for a gym; Board begins search for new Trustee, Superintendent

By Nick Goodrich

On Wednesday night, October 14th, the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education met to discuss the process of filling a vacant spot on the board, and began gearing up for the search for a new superintendent. The Board currently has one vacancy following the resignation of Board Member Barbara Cowan, who announced her resignation in September.

The Board will begin the selection process by issuing a notice of vacancy, informing residents and potential candidates of the opening; the next step, shortly after the notice, will be to begin accepting paper applications from qualified applicants. In addition, the Board will hold a special meeting on November 24th to search for candidates to replace Superintendent Donald Gill, who also announced his resignation last month. The Board took the first steps to filling the position on Wednesday by approving a resolution to authorize outside credentials, which effectively set the process in motion and will be built upon during the meeting in November.

The focus of the Board meeting then turned to Orchard Park Middle School in Oakley, which is calling for the construction of a gymnasium after a student was injured and hospitalized with a broken arm during a physical education class on the school’s grass field. Students and staff from Orchard Park spoke out against the shoddy condition of the turf, which has caused injuries to students in the past, and asked the Board to approve a new gymnasium adjacent to the middle school.

A gym would enable students to continue physical education classes even on rainy days, when the turf becomes soaked and unusable; typically, any rain on the turf forces students to pass time watching movies in classrooms during their physical education classes. In addressing Orchard Park’s request, the Board recognized that the field has been a problem for several years, and promised to agendize the issue in future meetings.

The movement of portables to the field was discussed as an option to temporarily address the problem, which would cost nearly $150,000 according to an early estimate; the Board plans to take more permanent action in the coming months.

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