ELIZABETHTOWN — Schools in Westport and Elizabethtown are continuing efforts to merge some sports programs.
Officials see the process as open and collaborative, designed primarily to keep sports programs for students in place.
The Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School Board approved a measure this week to apply for Section VII Athletic Association permission to merge the schools for boys varsity soccer and for girls modified soccer.
The application is to be kept on the table “as needed” and remains responsive to student numbers.
“Both schools believe we have enough student participation to sustain boys modified soccer and girls varsity soccer programs individually at each school,” ELCS Superintendent Scott Osborne said Wednesday.
The move is designed to protect the programs, keeping them in place for athletes at both school districts, Osborne said.
Details still have to be worked out for shared-soccer logistics.
“Once we get the green light from Section 7, then we have both heads of athletics at each school, superintendents and transportation people sit down together to determine what is logistically efficient and what makes sense," Osborne said.
"We will look at the options: where to practice; where to play, what is the team’s identity.”
ELCS soccer fields are on rented open farm fields owned by NYCO Minerals. Westport plays soccer on Camp Dudley fields.
“My inclination would be to vary the practice locations,” Osborne said.
But that requires a carefully planned soccer practice and game schedule.
“And we will have to be very explicit about how we handle those two weeks of practice before the season starts,” Osborne said.
Both varsity and modified soccer programs begin practice in August before school starts.
And students and parents usually have to arrange their own transportation during the pre-season.
Osborne said the schools are looking to open a merged sports page on both schools websites, keeping updated information available for parents and athletes.