PORTSMOUTH – Shawnee State University and Portsmouth City Schools have reached a formal agreement to continue the shared usage of various athletic facilities between the university and the city school district. The agreement, which formalizes an already standing accommodation, gives both parties access to needed athletic facilities.
As a part of the new agreement, Shawnee will continue to allow the city school district access to the Rhodes Athletic Center Gymnasium, Warsaw Natatorium, the Dr. William E. Daehler Tennis Center and the Shawnee Turf. In return, the university will continue to have access to Portsmouth High School Gymnasiums, the Hadsell Track and Field Facility and the Hatcher Field.
Shawnee Athletic Director, Jeff Hamilton, said the new agreement just formalizes a long standing relationship between the university and the city school district.
“They use our swimming pool, and we use their track,” Hamilton said. “We share tennis courts. We share gymnasiums. I think it has always worked out very well between Mr. Albrecht and myself and his coaches and our coaches.”
The formalization of the agreement allows Shawnee and Portsmouth City Schools to continue their symbiotic relationship, all the while allowing the student-athletes of both institutions to use superb facilities, and gain additional training.
“We’ve kind of always been doing the good neighborly thing,” Hamilton said. “Basically, as we’re starting to expand our track program and include a full track program, and not just an extension of our cross country team, we felt like we probably needed to make it a little more formal.”
Shawnee will benefit greatly with the use of the Hadsell Track and Field Facility, as the university recently expanded their track and field offerings, but the university will not be the only beneficiary of the agreement.
“I think it gives them some help with their swimming and with their tennis (programs), that our facilities will be made available to them,” Hamilton said.
While Hatcher Field, where the Portsmouth High School Baseball team plays its home games, will be made available to the university, it will not be the home of Shawnee Baseball.
“I don’t see it as a home for Shawnee Baseball,” Hamilton said. “I think it gives us some ability to bring in some teams for multi-games on a weekend. For the most part, we are very content with our arrangement with the city (Portsmouth), and trying to get, and keep Branch Rickey (Park) a part of the Shawnee Baseball family.”
Hamilton went on to explain the agreement would allow the university to continue using Hatcher Field for tournaments like the Gene Bennett Baseball Classic, as well as any further baseball tournaments, or similar events, the university may be able to host.
Shawnee and the City of Portsmouth recently extended a lease that allowed the university to operated Branch Rickey Park. The new agreement with Portsmouth City Schools will not affect that lease agreement, in any way.
Scott Dutey, Superintendent of Portsmouth City Schools shared his thoughts on the new agreement and working with Hamilton, and Shawnee President Dr Rick Kurtz.
“I look at the recent agreement as a natural progression of PCS’s relationship with SSU. Our athletes will continue to benefit through the use of the SSU pool, gym, and tennis courts,” stated Dutey in a press release. “We look forward to all the positive impacts of continuing our partnership with Dr. Kurtz and Jeff Hamilton in the future.”
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.