Cossatot River School District spent the summer refurbishing the interiors and waxing the floors of the schools, but the biggest project of the year is the ongoing process of building softball, baseball and soccer fields at the high school.
For the past two years, the soccer team has played exclusively away games since Cossatot River does not have a soccer field, according to Superintendent Jim Tankersley. The team played in De Queen and Mena, but some games took them as far as Little Rock and Bryant.
“Our teams have been very successful,” Tankersley said. “They’ve been to state the last two years in soccer.”
Over the years the other teams have played on fields in Wickes, some owned by the city, so Tankersley said the complex at the high school will allow student athletes to practice without having to take a bus. He said he hopes to see phase one of construction completed by the time the season starts.
The project started in August 2018, but frequent rain slowed down the process. Currently, the complex is under phase one of construction, which includes setting up the field and sodding the grass.
Phase two will see fencing the fields and building dugouts, and phase three will bring concession stands into the complex. The fourth and final phase will set up lighting around the fields.
“This is going to be great for our kids,” Tankersley said.
Academically, Cossatot River’s schools have had good test scores and teaching staff, according to Tankersley. He said they want to build on what they’ve done in the past and move forward.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done so far, but we’ve still got work to do,” Tankersley said. “Academic-wise, building-wise, personnel-wise, we just want everybody to move forward.”
Cossatot River School District includes four schools: Cossatot River High School, Wickes Elementary, Vandervoort Elementary and Umpire Schools.
To prepare for the new year, the school district has also experienced a few personnel changes. Tankersley himself started as superintendent at Cossatot River on July 1, 2018. This year will be his second.
“We had a very good year last year,” Tankersley said. “We want to provide our students with the best educations opportunities we can, and everybody has really stepped up to the plate.”
This will be Tankersley’s 41st year in education.
He retired in Texas after 18 years in one school district, but he said he wasn’t ready to do nothing, and he enjoys being around the public, the schools and the kids.
“I just like doing what I’m doing,” Tankersley said. “I enjoy it, and I’m going to continue to do it as long as the good Lord lets me do it.”