Archive for Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Self may give assist to sports facility

KU coach’s foundation, district pursuing options

May 13, 2008


Athletic facility upgrades approved by board members

Lawrence School Board members give the go ahead to district officials to start a 2.8 million dollar upgrade to Lawrence High School athletic facilities. Enlarge video

Lawrence school district administrators have had talks with Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self's Assists Foundation about developing a health and wellness campus that could also include a school district sports facility.

"There is an interest on their part in pursuing conversations relevant to that end," Lawrence Superintendent Randy Weseman said.

Weseman and school board member Scott Morgan mentioned it during Monday night's discussion of improving the district's outdoor athletic facilities.

Board members directed administrators to continue exploring options for possible partnerships.

"That's not binding us to anything, but just to find out what it's going to cost and to maximize our resources," Morgan said.

Self and his family established the foundation to promote health and wellness among young people, including raising funds to help develop the campus in the greater Lawrence/Kansas City area.

It could be part of the third and final phase of a plan to improve athletic facilities in the district. Weseman has proposed trying to attack several district projects without seeking a bond issue or tax increase. The plan instead relies on a financing tool that rewards using more energy-efficient materials.

"Not only can we improve things, but we can do it in a way that's going to decrease our energy consumption in the future," Weseman said.

Monday night, board members hired a engineering company, Johnson Controls Inc., to determine which projects would qualify. Its audit would include proposed projects to improve athletic fields at both high schools and an $11 million backlog of maintenance projects at elementary schools.

Administrators are looking at using the financing tool to pay for projects like installing artificial turf because it would save on water, mowing and fertilizing.

Weseman has unveiled plans to improve practice and competition facilities at each high school, including adding fields at Lawrence High School. Weseman said Monday night that he anticipated several projects on the list to be completed or under way in the next 18 months.

Administrators have estimated it would cost $2.8 million to add artificial turf, bleachers and restrooms to the current track sites at each high school to allow for practice and for football and soccer competition, possibly until a district facility is built.

The two schools play home football games at Haskell Stadium, and it will cost the district $5,000 per game next year. Administrators and board members have said it could be possible each high school football team could be playing home games on their campus sometime late this fall season after likely starting the year at Haskell.

The projects also would significantly add turf fields, including softball and baseball, to the LHS campus to keep students from having to drive across town for baseball, softball and soccer practice.

Sven Alstrom, a Lawrence architect who owns a home south of LHS, said he didn't object to the field proposals but said the project needs to include a properly engineered drainage system.

Shelley Bock, a Lawrence attorney and longtime soccer official, said athletic field improvements were critical.

"It has to be done if this community is going to provide safe and reasonable facilities for its students," Bock said.


TheOriginalCA 10 years ago

I applaud anyone who prioritizes youth no matter where they focus their efforts. Especially the specific area of Health and Fitness. Kudos to Bill Self for using his name for such a worthy cause. Hopefully other prominant public figures will do the same.

KEITHMILES05 10 years ago

That's interesting, very interesting!It's funny to read all the negative comments about Topeka yet..........Topeka has something Lawrence doesn't? How could this be?

KEITHMILES05 10 years ago

I wonder what the goals of the Self's Assist Foundation are. Will it be far reaching for the entire state or only Lawrence and KC?It's exciting to see Self venturing out into communities. However, if these sort of things will only be isolated to the two communities above then I would be suspect in support.If people across the state support his endeavor would it not make sense to be involved in all areas of the state?

mumbojumbo 10 years ago

coolmarv if you would pay attention to the article it has nothing to do with KU this is a Bill Self project to help the youth of Lawrence get a chance to be in better shape and have somewhere to go after school and on their spare time instead of just walking the streets of our city. This is his project and we should appreciate the fact that he cares about kids and the Lawrence community.

Stephen Roberts 10 years ago

I find the district spending money quite foolishly. Does WESEALMAN spend his money this way? No!!Since we are wanting to give sports great facilities, what about band, orchestra, and drama. It is too bad those kids have to practice and perform in those old auditoriums!!But whose cares about those kids, the people of Lawrence and the admin only cares about sports.Maybe we should create a magnet school so athlete minded kids could only concentrate on sports, education gets in the way. They could also teach them so good life skills.

coolmarv 10 years ago

The way KU atheltics does buisness I would strongly recommend the school board not due business with them. KU would always come first and still send the district the bill.

Shelley Bock 10 years ago

Up until the last several days, I would have argued exactly the opposite of "commuter". Why do we need new band uniforms, why not improve sports facilities? If your interest is too specific, you lose understanding of the total picture.First, just because one facet of the schools is receiving attention, that doesn't mean neglect or disrespect to other aspects of the educational process.Second, there is no doubt Lawrence's sports facilities are woefully inadequate. There is no rationale reason to ignore the facts or dispute the need.Third, support for sport facility improvement should also mean improvement in other educational areas. Each individual should not support only their special intersts, but the whole. I will be as supportive to performance arts facility improvement as I am for sport facility development.

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

Ahhhh yes another disguise for the Chamber of Commerce high dollar PLAY project. The Chamber and their back door approach comin in the back door of USD 497. This could not happen with that door being unlocked and opened with arms wide open. There are places to work out all over town. The rec centers,KU has a nice new operation,USD 497 has work out facilities, private work out centers. Plus a bench and weights are not all that expensive and neither are cross-over elliptical trainers. As a matter of each home should have cross-over elliptical trainers as they are wonderful for bringing the knees and joints back to life. Bicycles are also a great source for low impact activity. Lawrence has two indoor pools which is great low impact activity. Why is the Chamber being so persisitent? Do they just love to spend tax dollars? Don't kid yourself this is all about adding one more new thing to the tax bill no matter how it is disguised. Where is the persistence when it comes to repairing streets and side walks? Where is the persistence necessary for restoring the downtown central business district aka the best money maker in town?Now I'm all for expanding the tourism industry BUT NOT when an activity requires a new multi-million dollar structure. Do these folks honestly believe that KCMO/JOCO and Topeka are not going to do all they can to keep sports activities in their yards? There is so much attention given to athletics but very little given to the adverse effects these activities have on knees and joints. What about that? The city is laying people off yet there must be money hidden in general fund somewhere cuz this will require new staff positions. Or does USD 497 have access to extra bucks? The Topeka facility is tied to their public school budget.What's wrong with parents organizing outdoor activities?

Take_a_letter_Maria 10 years ago

hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: Too bad Mangino doesn't work for USD 497, the new wellness coordinator would have her hands full, in more ways than one!Do any of you know what Coach Mangino does or doesn't do to control his weight situation? If not, you may wish to refrain from casting stones.

Take_a_letter_Maria 10 years ago

toe (Anonymous) says: Merrill is correct.------------------------------------------------------------------------Not fully. PLAY has been lobbying the school district from the start, there has never been anything backdoor about their objectives.Also, the workout rooms owned by the city are not close to meeting the needs, the weight rooms at the two high schools are laughable, you can't just walk into one of the facilities at KU and even if we can afford to join the private facilities you end up paying more with each subsequent renewal yet get less in return for your membership fees.Will KCMO/JOCO/Topeka give up their activities? If you do it right in Lawrence you won't have to worry because just like in the movie Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come. I have a team that leaves town to participate in baseball and not a week goes by that I don't have an opposing coach or parent ask why Lawrence doesn't host any tournaments. People want to come to town and if they do they'll spend their money.I think Merrill is more jealous that now PLAY has some additional power behind it with Coach Self's name/organization coming into the picture. The facilities in Lawrence for youth activities are atrocious. This is something that needs to be addressed. It also makes sense that someone who makes his living because of athletics would throw his support behind an athletic venture.I'd love to see more support for the arts as well. The Art Center does a fine job, as do the fine arts programs at our Jr/Sr high schools, but there are definitely facility needs there as well. Maybe it's time for those folks - like Ric Averill - to start lobbying well known KU alum in the performing arts to help out with those programs.The geeks should be hitting up both Yahoo and Google for some type of computer academy since Lawrence natives and KU grads are highly placed in both of those organizations.No Merrill is not correct. Merrill is just bitter.

shorttrees 10 years ago

I'm going to say what I'm sure many often think--Merrill, shut up.

Confrontation 10 years ago

If most parents invested their childrens' video game allowance towards a health venture like this, then we'd have fewer unhealthy kids. Sure, your kid might be thin, but he's still developing heart disease if he's eating unhealthy foods and not exercising. I'm just glad we have Bill Self in this town. He has more brains than the whole commish and many parents put together.

packs_of_wild_dogzz 10 years ago

Quit complaining. Kids have to have something, otherwise they'll all turn into outlaws.

KEITHMILES05 10 years ago

It's all fine and dandy for Lawrence to feel entitled to have these Bill Self projects but KU is so much more than Lawrence. Reaching out to the rest of the state is essential.Maybe Self feels Larwence/KC is a fat population which needs urgent care? LOL

booze_buds_03 10 years ago

Merrill has there ever been a topic that you did not incessantly whine and complain about?

stuckinthemiddle 10 years ago

for all I know about Bill Self I like him a lot... I think he's a genuine guy and he's a great coach...but this:"I'm just glad we have Bill Self in this town. He has more brains than the whole commish and many parents put together."well... it cracked me up...

Stephen Roberts 10 years ago

I think it would be great for LHS and Freestate to play football at their school. At my high school, the football team played at the school.I am waiting for Randy and the board put up a HUGE bond to pay for the MEGA SPORTS COMPLEX. Great more money wasted. Just one question, when does band, orchestra, and drama get their share? Based on what I have seen from Randy and his henchman, never !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

stuckinthemiddle 10 years ago

Merrill just might be right about this... so Bill's going to come up with a few bucks and maybe some other folks will kick in... but we're talking tens of millions of dollars...and this is something that within the past year folks were suggesting could be done with a sales tax... we'll just keep an eye on it...

number1jayhawker 10 years ago

If half the people that are bitching and whining about some kids receiving benefits and some not, please reread the article. You should realize it is a Bill Self project, not KU. They also would realize, that this is not just for athletes that do certain sports, it is for ALL kids to get them off their lazy fat butts and just do some form of excersise. It's a win win situation.

Shelley Bock 10 years ago

I agree with number1jayhawker. This would be a "win win" situation for the community. It only enhances respect for Coach Self and KU. Heck, I suspect that Coach Williams of the "Jayheels" might even contribute something. Could there be others...?

blakus 10 years ago

Seems like some have forgotten the money we save by upgrading the high school sports fields. Lets also not forget how much money we save students and parents from driving across town during rush hour to attend sports practice. Don't forget all the injuries that will be prevented by having a suitable surface for our kids to run on that isn't full of divots. But really, who cares about all that good stuff.

penguin 10 years ago

God forbid that a person wants to work to make his community a better place to live.His kids go to school here....he lives here....why would he not want to focus on improving the place he lives? He is under no obligation to even lend his name/support to this effort, but he appears to be ready to do so...and what is the response? Typical whining. Almost every larger community in Kansas has their notable residents that can help the community. So should they fall under the same obligations with their charitable enterprise? Absolutely not. I think we should applaud Bill's efforts. He is trying to improve his community in a positive way. How many people who denigrate his efforts can say the same? My guess is not too many because that would take away from your efforts to whine about everything happening in Lawrence on this site.So do not listen Bill...keep up the good work! Your efforts show me that you are a true member of the community and not just a coach drawing a salary from KU.

Jayhawker1 10 years ago

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