School Board has options for Marathon sports complex

Options for the Marathon Middle High School sports complex range in cost from $3.7 million to $5 million and range in design from a competition 400-meter, eight-lane track to one suitable only for practice.

The Monroe County School Board learned of three different options for the property, which is adjacent to the Marathon Manor parcel, at its Tuesday meeting in Marathon. One option doesn’t use the property at all.

All three designs, presented by Pat Lefere, executive director of Operations and Planning, would add 150 parking spaces to the school off Sombrero Beach Road. The most expensive option, at $5 million, would deliver the competition track and call for Marathon Manor to be demolished.

None of the plans are set in stone, Lefere said.

“We only put these plans forward to help open that conversation,” Lefere said. “The intent is not to ask the board for any decisions.”

Marathon city leaders showed up to support the project — whatever it may be.

“I just encourage you to please examine all the options and again, kind of think outside the box,” said Councilman Mark Senmartin. “There are a lot of choices that could be made with this property.”

The board meets next Tuesday in Key West starting at 5 p.m. at the A.J. Henriquez Building, 241 Trumbo Road, for its first budget hearing of the year.

The School Board 12 years ago paid more than $7 million for Marathon Manor with the possibility of building affordable housing on it. Empty since, it had been widely cast as the likely spot for a community swimming pool if one is built, but Superintendent Mark Porter recently said the board won’t enter the pool management business.

As for the cost, board member Andy Griffiths made note of the Manor purchase.

“Add $7.2 million for anything,” Griffiths said. “We’ve already acquired the property.”

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen