Metro coach says cramped spaces leave too little room to practice sports after school

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Bursting at the seams, a metro high school is trying to find room for all of its after-school sports and activities. That lack of space is forcing kids to practice in hallways and in areas that coaches say aren’t safe.

Sumner offers nearly 20 sports for students. Teachers and coaches say the options are great but they wish the district would give the space to handle the activities.

“It’s a sport that I played, a sport that I loved to play,” said Medbor Chavez.

Chavez was so passionate about soccer, after graduating from Sumner academy in 2009 he began coaching the girl’s team.

“I love representing my school,” he said.

But after assistant coaching for several years, Chavez started noticing a big problem.

“I see all these kids coming to try out, all these kids wanting to get better. I do want to help them, but I’m limited,” Chavez said.

Sumner Academy educates grades 8th through 12th. With so many kids and nearly 20 sports offered, things get cramped to say the least.

Chavez says on a regular basis, the gyms are full with other sports so more than 40 kids are forced to practice in the hallways and safety becomes a concern.

“Why do the kids there have to suffer? Having so many people in a confined space the first thing we think of is we don’t want them to get hurt,” he said.

A Sumner Academy teacher took a picture yesterday and posted it to Facebook. In the post she explains the wrestling team was forced to once again practice in the hallway. Something the teacher called “inexcusable.”

“I just thought it’s about time somebody post this. All I could think is I hope this helps. I hope somebody out there sees it and can help somehow,” said Chavez.

School officials say there is a big lack in funding and KCK schools have bigger fish to fry. Chavez says while he understands budget concerns, he wonders why the school offers so many sports even though it’s clear there’s not enough space.

“The school district just needs to get their priorities straight,” said Chavez.

Chavez and other coaches say they have written letters to the district about this problem and have never heard back. School officials with both the district and Sumner Academy say while they know it’s not the most ideal situation, they’re doing the best they can with the funding they’re given.

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