Some neighbors upset at getting locked out of a ‘community asset’
The Hillcrest High School track is no longer open for use by neighbors.
Hillcrest principal Terrence Florie said school leaders made the decision with campus preservation and school safety in mind after renovations took place through mid-to-late 2021.
“The reason we can no longer just leave the gates open for any considerable amount of time is because it cannot be monitored,” Florie said. “The transformation of the field is quite remarkable, and we are confident it would not look that way for long if we just left it unmonitored.”
Florie compared this closure to the approach taken in the gym, front office, or classrooms. They are all locked and secured when not in use by faculty, staff, or students.
“[The track] is locked during the day because we have several student groups and teams who use [it], and their safety must be considered,” Florie said. “Between the safety of our students and the upkeep of the field, we can no longer leave the track and field accessible to all.”
Hillcrest High School administrators, coaches, and parents made this decision after months of discussion.
“We apologize that we cannot share with all, but please know that we do want to ensure that the campus continues to add to the beauty of the neighborhood,” Florie said. “We do appreciate your understanding and hope that you continue to support us as a whole.”
Preston Hollow neighbors, such as Robert Kelly, have used the track at Hillcrest for years and are disappointed they now must travel to University Park or Richardson to access one.
“I’ve lived here over 20 years and, during that time, have paid well over $100,000 in school taxes,” Kelly said. “Others, no doubt, with larger properties have paid even higher amounts in school taxes as well as having donated monies to the original construction of the track.”
Kelly’s diabetes necessitates regular exercise, and he estimated about 100 others regularly used the track.
“I’d like for the school district to consider that new track and field to be a community asset accessible to all,” Kelly said. “It’s not just for the benefit of the adults but for kids, many underprivileged kids who live in the apartments close to Central Expressway. They had been able to play soccer in the evenings and weekends until the track and field was closed.”