Athletic Director Brad Reese said improvements will become more visible in Panther Stadium and The Panther Den during the next few months and stay within the budget at Monday's meeting of the Heber Springs school board.

Reese reviews completed projects in advance of the junior high school conference track and field meet that will be held at Panther Stadium on April 18 and the high school meet on April 20.

The remaining projects are expected to be completed by the start of the next school year.

"We are upgrading our track timing system," Reese said. "Coach (Johnette} Goldman and I purchased a new camera before spring break. The camera will give a better side and head-on views, so the numbers on the athletes are more clear for tight finishes. The state track coaches voted to reinstate the 800-meter relay. We will be painting the exchange zones on the track."

Reese said work will begin soon on finishing the wall on the north side of the trophy Case in The Panther Den.

"We recently upgraded the weightroom in the gym and field house by adding equipment for the athletes," he said. "We need to find the best way in limiting access to the downstairs area near the game officials' dressing room and the coaches' offices. We are looking at options there."

Other improvements are planned by start of football season at Panther Stadium, including cleaning of the turf.

"We will be repairing the visiting press box that has a water leak at the window and rotting the wall," Reese said. "We need to fix the fence in the northeast corner and the fence outside the stadium near the youth football storage area."

Reese said improving lighting will be a priority. He cited times last year when lights on poles would go out.

"The lights were installed in the 1980s," he said. "The main problem is fuses and breakers going out. We need to find out what is causing the shorts. We already finished work on the sound system at the football field and in the gym."

Reese said the athletic department purchased team banners and flags and place them on top of The Panther Den on Friday nights, along with the new lettering on the side of the gym.

Player safety is important and Reese said that always will be a priority.

"We purchased helmet covers to reduce the number of concussions," Reese said. "We received helmets and shoulder pads Monday. We are trying to keep it where we can purchase some new helmets every year and not purchase a large number of helmets every year."

Reese is working on adding a fifth home game. He believes the gate revenue fell short during the past year because of fewer home games.

"We compared gate revenue from January 2019 to January 2018 and we were within $160," he said. "We are working to add one more home game. Football and basketball provide most of the revenue, while volleyball and soccer within $100 of breaking even."

Reese said he continues to work on increased bus parking near the stadium, so the school can host track meets with more teams.

"We are working on ways to get more room, so we can host more schools for track meets," he said. "Schools like to have their buses close because of safety reasons and the convenience of letting athletes out close to the track."

Reese said he was talking to representatives of Net Tune Game Time about providing family stye pregame music at football game. He also is working on a solution to increase lighting at the pole vault, especially early in the season when it gets dark earlier.

Heber Springs teacher Geena Knight was recognized for saving a student's life in the cafeteria recently when he choked on food. Knight received a plaque.

Superintendent Dr. Alan Stauffacher said in his financial report, that it improved last month and he expects that trend will continue.

Bivens Asphalt's bid of $52,137 was selected for work on areas near the high school and middle school.

In other action, the school board approved a student transfer from Concord and adopted policy updates. The board also approved a resolution not to hold an election this year since only one candidate was running for a school board seat. Resignations of elementary school teachers Candace Parrish and Erica O'Nell and Tanya Swartwood, a paraprofessional, were accepted.

The school board will meet at 7 a.m. Friday and tour the district facilities.