Coppell city council members are expected to vote Tuesday night on a zoning request involving a chain link, barbed wire fence surrounding a middle school football field.
The Coppell Independent School District put up the fence around the football field and track behind Coppell Middle North several months ago.
The fence, according to the superintendent, was a direct response to multiple reported incidents of vandalism at the field, destruction of property – including a damaged soccer goal – a break-in of the field house building and multiple fights at the track over whose right it was to use the facility.
“We went ahead and built the fence to secure the facility,” said Coppell ISD Superintendent Mike Waldrip. “And then we’ve had some citizens who have raised some concern.”
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Citizens did not hold back their concern about the fence at a recent public hearing about its future.
“Cheap, ugly, unsafe” is how one neighbor described the fence.
Another said it “Looks like a prison.”
That concern, about the apparent unsightliness of a chain link, barbed wire fence, is not without merit. That type of fence is not allowed in that area of Coppell, according to municipal zoning ordinances, without permission.
Earlier this month, the Coppell Planning and Zoning Commission recommended no exception be granted to the district, which would require the fence to come down.
According to Superintendent Waldrip, the district did not hesitate to install the 8-foot-tall fence because the exact same type of fencing is in place surrounding the football field at Coppell High School and at the facilities of a different middle school.
“I don’t think anyone could foresee that the decision to put a fence around one of our facilities would have required putting a committee together to study the need or the reasons or the type of fence we would want to use,” Waldrip said. “But we do involve our community in many, many decisions that we make at the district level because it is their school district.”