The playing fields, surfaces and facilities students use on a daily basis — either for practice or during home games — can make all the difference in whether Cedartown and Rockmart have winning programs on the rise, or ones that need a lot of help.

It can also mean that students who work hard in their chosen sport can find themselves in a heap of hurt if those facilities used to help athletes compete at the highest level aren’t kept up to their best condition. Everyone expects an athlete to hit the gym, get in their repetitions of passes, shots, kicks and tackles. What spaces that youth use to prepare or compete should be at the top level too.

That’s the goal of renovations and upgrades at facilities across Polk School District in the latest round of the Education Only Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax fund request put forth to voters in years past. and the money is being well spent — along with the help of donors as well.

Board members during their March work session got a chance to hear all about how the facilities district-wide are getting a thorough workout of their own, with some of that work already completed and other projects still underway. Among those that school board member and facilities committee chair Chris Culver pointed toward that were putting on the best face for Polk School District were the improvements finished just in time for baseball season at Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools.

The work at Cedartown’s baseball field — paid for with donations from the community and local organizations like Polk County Public Service and the W.D. Trippe Foundation — brings the team a brand new home dugout with attached facilities for out-of-the-weather pitching and hitting warm-ups and practice when the Bulldogs are at home.

“We aren’t lacking for facilities out there,” he said.

He added that players get excited to use facilities like the revamped dugout at Cedartown High School’s baseball field, which many other schools don’t have available to them.

That work coincides with a project completed at Rockmart High School for low cost to convert a structure that otherwise would have been torn down into a locker room space and more for the Jackets baseball program. Culver said that project was an example of what can be done with just few resources.

Board member J.P. Foster also added that he felt the facility was a positive outcome on what otherwise would have been a structure the system would have spent money to tear down.

“That is a phenominal addition to Rockmart High School. It’s so impressive,” Foster said. “Kudos to all those who chipped in to make it happen.”

The work doesn’t end there. The district is also finishing up work on track resurfacing at Rockmart High School, and completed that project at Cedartown High School as well.

The Lady Bulldogs softball area got a fresh concrete pad and the drainage area around the field is being reworked to increase safety and ensure that no one can fall into the drainage pipes that flow by the field and past football and soccer practice areas as well. He said additional work will be needed on the foot bridge and pathway down to the softball fields as well.

“We want to make sure that we have a safe environment to move the bleachers back on top of,” Culver said.

And at Rockmart High School, their press box for the football stadium will soon get an update as well, once everything is approved by the state Fire Marshal’s office.

Those projects are expected to wrap up later this year, and the hopes are that areas like the press box will be finished in time for the 2019 football season’s start in August.