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MY WORD: Collins High School is a study in mediocrity

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By Clint Silver

As one drives onto the boulevard leading to the Collins High School campus, all seems well.
A short while later, the observant person notices large quantities of grass clippings all over the road. Weeds and grass are growing in the cracks of the asphalt and concrete, which in the present state will do irreparable harm to both if not corrected quickly.
The lack of maintenance will allow the weeds to punch holes in the side of the asphalt and therefore create another outlandish expense for the school. The flower beds all around the school are consumed with weeds.
The football field looks like the Japanese used it for bombing practice, and the traffic pattern to and from the facility reminds one of the day when our teachers first taught us about the maze.
This only begins to beg the question who are the leaders of this school and why didn’t we identify the right people to design and coordinate the building of our brand new high school?
Someone is responsible for all of the mistakes that have been made, but in the truest tradition of today’s high school politics, we hear “the Collins spin.”
The ability of those in charge to sweep everything under the rug and just shrug their shoulders is unbelievable. Today’s teachers and administrators are fast to hold kids accountable, but for our school board to find fault almost never happens.
Why did we not create an egress from the back of the building for the buses? Who awarded the contract to build the football field to a first-time builder? Who is responsible for authorizing the construction of a second-class basketball complex?
The main gym, with all of its wasted space, has an American flag hanging therein so small, you can barely see it. A practice gym has only two baskets. In the upper level of the main gym the first few rows are unusable.
In fact, I would invite any of you to walk up to the upper level next year, sit in one of the first few rows and try to see the floor, much less watch a basketball game.
Our next door neighbor, Anderson Middle School, has a better gym complex than we do at Collins. Scott County also has better facilities.
We were promised and, I suppose, expected first class, but what we have here is spin and no substance.
If one of our kids had performed so miserably in one or more of his or her classes, he or she would have been admonished and recycled.
Who is behind such terrible decisions?
The suits we have employed as administrators will tell you this story or that, or change the subject or try to blame someone we never heard of.
We simply had the wrong people making these decisions. We as taxpayers deserve a little better.
Why do we have to pay for repairs to a field that’s barely one year old. Where are the trees that were promised for the boulevard?
And, to add insult to an already heated issue, our athletic director has decided to send his son to Trinity. Academically and athletically our school must not be good enough for the kids in Athletic Director Gary Kidwell’s family. What’s the problem with our school system?
This is another terrible message emanating from Collins and Kidwell’s office.
What about our central office and the suits who work there and, along with Superintendent James Neihof, Principal Anthony Hatchell, Assistant Superintendent Kerry Whitehouse and others who are responsible for all of these mistakes.
Why don’t we have some clarity for fixing responsibility? There should not be any way we should have to pay for repairs to the football field if the contract was done correctly. Someone needs to step up and tell it the way it is.
This is a debacle of huge proportions.
Maybe we can reassign Gary Kidwell and Kerry Whitehouse from bus detail and other clerical functions to carrying concrete and sod to help repair the field and assisting with correcting the mistakes made in planning and building the gym and football field.
The baseball complex is a similar matter. No one with any baseball knowledge could have designed a more mediocre facility.
The field is like a goat ranch with little or no smoothness to it and all kinds of drainage problems. The dugouts and the patrons’ seating are without imagination and lack any forethought to accessibility and user friendly accommodation.
I believe that all of Shelby County needs to know who in particular is responsible for all of these decisions. Let’s ask Curtis Turley or Mike Clark if they were consulted about the gym, or if Roy Bailey was asked what the baseball facility should look like.
My guess is that a few people who have no experience in these matters whatsoever took it upon themselves, without any expert help, to build a legacy to their name.
Well they did it. It is called Collins High School.
James Neihof and the school board should be ashamed.
Neihof wants to talk about academics because Collins is the greatest, but his own athletic director is sending his kid to Trinity to get a better education.
As the announcer in the movie Bull Durham said, “It’s time to tell it like it is folks.”
Collins High School is not very good this year. Fact is folks, Collins High School won’t be any better next year.
Lost revenue is a minor issue compared to the disgrace this debacle brings to the community. We have a bunch of empty suits leading our school system.
Let’s sue the contractor. Let’s force the issue. Why take money out of another account to pay for the mistakes of Whitehouse and a first-time contractor.
Let’s back up and start over and get people in these administrative positions who place Shelby County first rather than second to Trinity and the legacy they had hoped to build.
No one on our current school board or Kerry Whitehouse had the experience or expertise to accomplish this task, and the proof is in the pudding.

Clint Silver lives in Shelbyville.