Charlotte ISD Athletic Director Shawn Vowell came with a long list of wants and needs to the board of trustees’ budget workshop on July 14. He spoke for 20 minutes providing photos of sports facilities that needed some attention in addition to requesting near $26,000 in budget increases for football, boys basketball and softball uniforms and weight equipment.
Vowell’s first concern was the field house and track room, which housed the football locker room and weight room. He provided a stack of photos to show their conditions to board members. The field house currently has a huge hole in the roof where water leaks through into the facility. With the recent heavy rains, water has made its way inside, posing a hazard. Vowell further mentioned that attendance for summer workouts and training were very low this year at all schools, but he knew their athletes were going elsewhere to work out in facilities with A/C and new equipment.
He would love to see a new field house built from the ground up with a locker room for the girls on one side and boys on the other with a weight room in the middle, preferably between the football and baseball fields.
“My visitors can use our field house that we use right now, which to me is perfect for a visiting locker room,” said Vowell.
Ramos mentioned that was unsafe and nobody should be in that field house, not even visitors.
“It’s only for four hours, five times a year, that’s it,” said Vowell, though Ramos attested to the stories of snakes and other dangers the field house poses.
Although he was not requesting a new field house in this year’s budget, Vowell agreed to sacrifice it for a few more years. He would rather have the track resurfaced this year, which was already approved in this year’s budget.
As for this year’s budget year, Vowell requested an additional total of $26,000 for weight equipment and new football, boys’ basketball and softball uniforms.
For football, he would like to purchase 40 Nike uniforms for the 2022 season. It was too late to get them for the 2021 season. The purchase would include a maroon and gold jersey for home and away games as well as maroon pants. Total cost would be $15,000.
“Could I get them cheaper? Yeah. Maybe 10, 12 … but it’s Nike. Also, they’re cheaper when I can order them in November,” said Vowell.
Board President Becky Ramos asked how old the current gold uniforms were. Vowell answered he had them stored in the girl’s locker room for the past eight or nine years and just pulled them out for the 2020 season. They were in good condition, and he was more worried about the maroon jerseys, but would like to purchase gold, too.
Vowell also requested approval to purchase new varsity boys’ basketball uniforms for the 2021-22 season.
“Girls just got 12 new Nike uniforms this past year for $3,500. I was just priced at 15 Nike uniforms for $5,000 for the boys,” said Vowell, which includes two tops and two shorts for home and away games. The current uniforms would be passed down to JV and in turn, JV uniforms would be passed down to Junior High.
He also requested new uniforms for the softball team. Ramos asked to take a step back and wanted to know when he last bought uniforms for baseball. Currently, the boys are wearing T-shirts they are purchasing themselves. Vowell answered the last purchase was in 2015 and they’re due next year. All uniform purchases are on a rotating schedule.
Vice President Cindy Zuniga mentioned that softball got new uniforms this year and she did not like the white pants they wore. Ramos and Zuniga wanted to know who decided on that as well as on putting their names on the jerseys.
“That’s on me. That got away from me this year. My two seniors decided,” said Vowell.
Softball does not have a home and away uniform. Vowell would like to purchase new ones with a top and bottom, something that has not been done before. It would cost $4,000 for a Nike top and bottom. When told he needed to make it clear on the color pants the girls wore, he said the parents prefer maroon jersey on maroon pants, though he personally prefers the black pants.
Ramos and Zuniga mentioned getting the Athletic Booster Club involved to help offset some of the costs Vowell was requesting for uniforms. They also mentioned he could sell the old jerseys he has in storage in which that money would go right back in his budget.
“I know alumni would love the chance to purchase their old jerseys and it would benefit everyone in the long run,” said Ramos.
The board agreed to look into Vowell’s request. See additional budget requests in separate story in next week’s July 28 issue.