Athletic Fields Lawsuit ( .PDF )
City of Lawrence restraining order ( .PDF )
USD 497 Restraining Order ( .PDF )
A temporary restraining order mandating that construction of athletic fields at Lawrence High School stop doesn't mean the school district will take a time-out on the project.
Construction teams continue to move dirt at the site, and the projects at Free State High School are moving ahead because they were not included in the lawsuit filed by the Centennial Neighborhood Association.
Attorney Pete Curran, who represents the district, said the dirt work - part of installing artificial turf on the football field and replacing the track - is allowed under the lawsuit. The suit targets the special-use permits the district sought to build bleachers, install lights and other athletic facility amenities.
Curran said a hearing is tentatively set for Nov. 14 to argue the district's request to dismiss the suit.
The suit claims the city and school district broke city and state laws by designating the projects under the wrong development code. It also alleges that city and district officials bypassed public discussion of the projects by communicating in private, and that city commissioners prejudged the decision to approve the $10.4 million project in violation of state law.
District officials have said they hope to have all the projects complete by mid-August, with the football and baseball fields finished by mid-February. The lawsuit puts a kink in those plans, Curran said.
"It's disrupting those substantially," he said. "The great concern is that we won't have the contemplated facilities available for the next school year."
Superintendent Randy Weseman said the target dates are probably in jeopardy.
"Obviously, if it doesn't go well in court next week, it could change the whole complexion of the project," he said. "Right now every day is critical. We have to fight the weather, and if we have to fight the weather and a lawsuit, that only doubles the problem."