A proposed cross-country trail at the Gainesville High School campus would generate income, improve safety and generally benefit the student population.
“It will give us a place where we can host a home meet,” explained coach Adam Miller. “(That’s) something we’ve had a lot of interest in doing.”
According to Miller and Gainesville Athletic Club President Abb Hayes, Gainesville High is one of the few high schools in the area — and the only one in the county — that does not have its own campus course.
Additionally, the trail would provide a safe area where the cross-country team could practice. Currently, it does longer training runs through downtown Gainesville and along Green Street.
“It’s going to be a place that physical education classes can use for stuff as well,” Miller said. “There are benefits not just for our team, but for our school.”
The trail’s route hasn’t been officially set, but preliminary drawings show it going around the school campus, as well as the nearby Wood’s Mill Academy. It would encompass approximately 3.1 miles, or 5 kilometers.
The athletic club is in the process of pulling together a cost estimate for the project, but expects it to be around $5,000. Club funds would pay for the construction of the trail.
“We’re committed to seeing it through,” said Hayes. “($5,000 is) the amount of money that we allocated. We hope that’s enough, but we’ve got to get the estimates just to make sure we’ve got the funding necessary.”
“We would ask that you all partner with us in keeping up the course once we build it,” Hayes said to the Gainesville school board at the Oct. 7 work session. “But we are not asking for any funds whatsoever to construct the course.”
Once estimates are in, the school board will give final approval. Current plans are to have the trail ready in time for the 2014 cross-country team.
The ability to host meets on campus would generate funds for the team. According to Miller, the money raised from one on-campus meet would be enough to pay team entries for competitions throughout the season.
“We can generate a little money for the program, as well as have something on campus,” Miller said. “That would be one of the big highlights.”