Worthington Kilbourne High School's track and artificial turf now are open to residents from sunrise until sunset when the stadium is not in use, thanks to new security cameras.

Principal Aric Thomas said the stadium at the school, 1499 Hard Road in Columbus, has been available for public use since June 10.

Worthington Schools spokeswoman Vicki Gnezda said the cameras were part of an "overall safety upgrade" for the school and cost $4,000 to $5,000.

Thomas said maintaining a balance between sharing resources and security has been difficult, especially with the stadium behind the school building and out of sight from Hard Road.

"It was a barrier that we had to try to overcome," he said.

Thomas said the installation of the security cameras, which will use taped video, has helped the school overcome that barrier.

He said Thomas Worthington High School, 300 W. Dublin-Granville Road, always has had its facilities open for public use and has the advantage of visibility from state Route 161.

"We wanted to provide those same facilities," Thomas said.

Jen Goebbel, athletics director for Thomas Worthington, said her school's track is open to the public and "always has been," to her knowledge.

She said the track at Thomas Worthington is used by residents on a daily basis, and the gate to it is unlocked, though other buildings remained locked for security purposes.

At Worthington Kilbourne, security procedures also will be observed, according to Thomas.

For example, when the stadium is being used for high school activities or practices, the facility will be closed to the public, he said.

Fall sports practices will ramp up starting in August, but the track will be used by teams for periodic camps and practices over the summer months, Thomas said.

He said the facility would be opened when first-shift custodians arrive and locked at the end of the night before custodians leave.

School leaders still are trying to figure out what to do about hours during holidays, Thomas said.

"Hopefully, through feedback we can work out those issues," he said. "I think we'll open as much as possible."

One rule, though: Pets, bicycles and skateboards are prohibited in the facility, according to an email to Worthington Kilbourne families from athletics director Jeff Todd and Thomas.

Thomas said that the response from residents thus far has been positive. He said he hasn't heard any responses from students, but he has seen them using the track.

Residents with questions may call the athletics office at 614-450-6425, Thomas said.

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