Jan 15, 2022

Barton athletic facilities ‘bulging at the seams’

Posted Jan 15, 2022 6:02 PM
Barton Community College Board of Trustees received a tour of some of the sports facilities on campus Jan. 11.
Barton Community College Board of Trustees received a tour of some of the sports facilities on campus Jan. 11.

Great Bend Post

GREAT BEND — When Barton Community College started athletics in 1969, there were six programs offered. An addition to the main athletic complex on campus, the Kirkman Center, was made in 1995 and there were 13 sports. Currently, the junior college offers 22 sports and houses over 370 student athletes.

Barton Athletic Director Trevor Rolfs said watching the growth of the department has been great, but not much new construction has taken place since 1995 despite the growth.

"This place is really busy," said Rolfs. "Not only have we outgrown these facilities, the facilities are aging in certain areas. It's a good thing that we're growing, but the facility cramping is starting to rear its ugly head."

Rolfs gave an example of all officials dressing in one room. There are more and more women officials, creating a need for a separate space.

Rolfs, with support from Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman, presented his first sales pitch to the Barton Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday on future plans he would like accomplished on campus.

Centering on the Kirkman Center, the renovations and construction would come in phases, with the first phase costing $14.2 million. Rolfs highlighted relocating the training room to a bigger space, constructing a new weight room, more locker rooms, coach’s offices, new bleachers and a better display of the college’s hall of fame members.

"Barton athletics is in a good place," said Rolfs. "We've managed with the facilities we have and continued to be successful. I don't think we get hurt on recruiting because of our name and history, but more people are committing dollars to facilities and I don't want to see Barton fall behind."

Rolfs also told trustees during the tour there is a need for improvement to the track facility and a press box at the softball complex. In another phase, there are ideas for a new $11 million gym.

Barton also hosted the Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 1A-DII girls and boys state basketball tournaments this past spring. To properly showcase the facility to fans from around the state and provide adequate room for the teams, more locker rooms are needed.

The way the Kirkman Center was constructed in 1969, there is no air conditioning to the lower level. There is heat only.

While the athletic department has done work to gather potential donors, the trustees were told to expect a formal pitch requesting funding in the future.