Area outdoor sports complexes
¢ Owns two district complexes, both paid for using school district bonds.
¢ The Olathe District Activity Center opened in 1991. It includes a football stadium with grass and eight-lane track, two fields each for soccer, baseball and softball.
¢ The $14 million College Boulevard Activity Center opened in 2003. It includes the same fields, except for a track.
¢ A 2004 bond issue for $184 million allowed for several athletic upgrades, including adding artificial turf to its South stadium and rebuilding its North stadium with artificial turf.
¢ The district also constructed its own complexes for softball and soccer, and it leases fields at the 3&2 baseball complex in Lenexa for its teams.
Topeka, Hummer Sports Park
¢ In a 2001 bond issue, the district built a complex for $17.5 million on the former state hospital grounds.
¢ It includes a 6,000-seat football stadium with artificial turf, an outdoor track, other fields for soccer, baseball and softball and a natatorium.
Lawrence school district leaders don't have to look far to find examples of styles of outdoor sports complexes in other districts: Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Topeka.
"What I look forward to, and what (the administration) will bring back to us, is an idea of what has worked and take the best of what's out there and tailor it toward Lawrence," said Scott Morgan, a Lawrence school board member.
There's also one major difference in the Lawrence administration's plan to develop a district athletic and wellness complex compared with the others. As of now, it wouldn't be funded from a bond issue, which means it likely could be something that is developed to over time.
The Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Topeka school districts also executed their plans in different ways.
As part of a $184 million bond issue, Shawnee Mission renovated its South district football stadiums and rebuilt the North one, including adding artificial surfaces, which has allowed grounds crews to mostly focus on fields elsewhere in the district.
"They don't require the same level of maintenance or the same man hours or labor that natural grass does," said Bruce Kracl, the district's manager of operations and maintenance.
The 2004 bond issue also has allowed the district to develop separate complexes for soccer and softball, and it also leases fields for games from the 3&2 Baseball Club of Johnson County, a nonprofit that operates them.
Olathe and Topeka, meanwhile, have facilities for several sports at one site.
Olathe established the Olathe District Activity Center in 1991, and thanks to another bond issue, it built the College Boulevard Activity Center in 2003 for about $14 million. Both offer fields for football, soccer, baseball and softball, and ODAC's stadium includes an outdoor track.
Administrators evaluated how to preserve what worked best and how to improve it when they built the second complex.
"If we just took (ODAC) and doubled it in size, the traffic becomes an issue," said Greg Thomason, construction manager for Olathe public schools.
Topeka's school district built Hummer Sports Park after a 2001 bond issue authorized a $17.5 million complex for football, soccer, baseball, softball and track. Now it includes a natatorium, a separate building for a swimming pool.
Lawrence school administrators recently unveiled a plan to use a financing tool to improve athletic fields, such as installing artificial turf, at both high school campuses. The new fields could be used for competition until a district facility or complex is built.
Talks have begun with Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self's Assists Foundation, which is seeking to become a partner to establish a campus to benefit child wellness.
Morgan said a complex like that would be different from others in the area.
"What really makes a place unique is the function you put into it," he said.