Stadium’s walking track now locked at night; open in day 7/23/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stadium’s walking track now locked at night; open in day

By Rupert Howell

Vandalism and theft at Dunlap Stadium were given at last week’s meeting of South Panola’s board of trustees as reasons for locking the gates at night. Superintendent Tim Wilder told trustees prior to informing them that the district may add soccer, girl’s volleyball, archery and other activities that surrounding schools participate in.

The stadium’s walking track has been a favored walking area for many years with walkers using the surface both early in morning, throughout the day and later in the night.
Wilder told trustees that the track was already being locked because of vandalism, theft and debris left at the facility after hours. He explained that a gate would be open in the morning until dark.

Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones said he and his department’s detectives were not aware of serious problems at the stadium but explained that incidents could have occurred that were minor in nature and went unreported.

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Funds for the track were donated by Batesville businessman Robert Dunlap who has supported the school district throughout a long local business career.  It became an immediate magnet for citizens throughout the community looking for a safe place to exercise, whether running or walking, not to mention a location for area track meets sponsored by South Panola.

Trustees noted that a city walking track at Trussell Park now offers a safe, lighted area for walkers.

Wilder also said he would survey students to see if interest in boys and girls soccer was high enough to begin programs here. He also mentioned reinstating girl’s volleyball and archery at South Panola.

Those programs as well as bowling were lost to budget cuts in the past few years.