Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unfortunate fight

November 19, 2008


To the editor:

What a shame for a few in the Centennial Neighborhood to resort to filing a lawsuit to stop the facilities upgrade at Lawrence High School. They have to know that the only ones being hurt here are the kids! No matter how you feel about the school board’s decision, remember the kids as you continue your fight in court.

How ironic that, as the Centennial Neighborhood is fighting LHS from upgrading the campus for the good of the kids, the Centennial Neighborhood Association continues to hold its meetings at LHS. Hmm, interesting…

Bryan L. Wyatt,


labmonkey 9 years ago

Why spend millions on a new facility that will, in the long run benefit a minority of students? Make the deal with Haskell, lay some field turf down, save millions. If you really wanted to "think about the kids," why not put the money into education that will benefit all the kids. Too many times, we spend money on new sports facilities while our children receive a lackluster education.

Shelley Bock 9 years ago

Labmonkey, you make several erroneous statements.First, if you look at the participation levels for the sports involved, there will be a substantial number of students using these facilities. Adding the numbers out for football, baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, track, band, and cheerleading, plus those who could now get to on-campus sites, participation level approaches 40-50% of the student body. Maybe still less than 50%, but greater than any other high school activity.Second, disabuse yourself of the folly that Haskell can be improved. Capital improvements by a local school district can't be made to federal property! The District can't spend the money on Haskell because the property isn't under school control. Besides, improvement of Haskell doesn't address the needs of LHS baseball, soccer, softball, tennis and track. None of them want to go to Haskell.Finally, spending on athletics can have an impact on all students. Athletes generally have grades which exceed the general student population. Their school room performance is monitored by the administration. Those students who participate get themselves organized and don't have time to "hang out" with their friends or play video games. With additional facilities on campus, these fields can be used by physical education classes and intramurals. And, if the intramurals don't come about, it is probably because of a lack of student interest.Soccer, baseball and softball have been around for well over 20 years. Football hasn't had a stadium improvement in over 80. Isn't some improvement warranted during that time? When have there been "too many times" that this district has spent money to improve athletic facilities?

Sheila Hooper White 9 years ago

This is so silly. Let's all find a reason to file a lawsuit against someone else, then we can all be sued. Haskell doesn't want the district there anymore. If it was an issue wouldn't you think they would of improved the facility or offered to help the district fix the facility? Let them finish. Because of one or two people,(who knew when they bought their house they were buying by a school)many people are without the facilities. I've seen many people use the track, the softball fields, the tennis fields, etc, so it's not just being used by the school. The marching band has practiced in the field by the track for as long as I can remember(i'm a lifelong lawrence resident). Now the kids at LHS will have no track when it's time for track and field. That means they will be running on the streets or running in the school. So sad for 1 or 2 people to ruin it for our kids. I'm glad I won't have another student at LHS for at least 6 years and I pray they can have it done by then.(haha). And the preson who wrote this made a comment about the Neighborhood Assoc. still meeting at LHS, pretty ironic.

Lawrenceisverycrooked 9 years ago

LabMonkey you are just complaining to hear your head rattle. The real answer is a district stadium for both schools. Since this didnt pass the next best thing is their own smaller scale fields. Haskell is horrible. Putting money into that stadium is just plain dumb. Why you ask? ITS NOT THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS!! You can put millions into it and in the end its still Haskells and we have to rely on them to play our football games. We pay 5 grand a pop now. Imagine what the fee would be if it was upgraded. Traditions die. This tradition is dead and we need to move on.

Lawrenceisverycrooked 9 years ago

Where are our priorities? It looks like in a couple houses in Centennial!

Shelley Bock 9 years ago

You haven't educated yourself about the improvements, blue73harley. Parking was considered and discussed at every meeting held on this issue.Plans call for approximately 350 additional, off-street parking stalls for LHS; more at the Virtual School location. This is a priority which has been incorporated into the entire plan, but is frustrated by the temporary restraining order.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

Well, yea, it's crystal clear, isn't it? Anybody who opposes this stadium just hates kids. I'm pretty sure they hate America, too.BTW, I can't find any statement anywhere from Haskell saying they don't want high school games on campus anymore.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Why should any development move forward if a negative impact on neighboring property values would be the end result?Where is the money?How many more tax dollars will be required to operate the facilities for the long term?Why do an end run around USD 497 voters with some kind of a land lease gimmick? With the amount of tax dollars involved,$14-$20 million,why not let the voters decide how the money should be spent? Perhaps the voters would have chosen to expand Deerfield,ungrade Pinckney,further restoration of CJHS or make Prairie Park elementary more energy efficient?This is P.L.A.Y. folks anyway you look at it. Rumor has it there is an additional $45 million P.L.A.Y. project on the table quietly being discussed? Let the voters decide!!!!blue73harley has offered some very practical thinking on this matter.The word from Haskell is they might well be interested howeverUSD 497 did not put forth much if any effort. This would be a win win win for the community..... making better use of existing resources.With this kind of money involved let the voters decide!!!!

mom_of_three 9 years ago

The district pays for each high school game at Haskell. If the district did improve, there is no guarantee that Haskell would keep letting the football games be played there. And that still wouldn't solve the problem of soccer, softball, track, and baseball. There were no facilities at LHS for those students, and I think the tennis courts needed improvement. Lots of students are going to benefit from these improvements. Lots of future students, too.

BigAl 9 years ago

Build them. It is past time.

CNA_Resident 9 years ago

Wow, parrotuya, Merrill, JustAnother and Blue73harley.Okay, let's take a look at a couple of facts:1. Merrill, can you possibly stop speculating? Your first sentence, and everything after that is predicated on one word: IF. You're welcome to survey every similar neighborhood across. this. country. which experienced an improved high school, particularly sports facilities in its environs. With FEW exceptions, those neighborhoods all benefited with re-investment in the housing stock, and a higher value to FAMILIES wanting into those neighborhoods. The Centennial lawsuit is based just as much on speculation as it is on the allegation of wrongful zoning.2. JustAnother: Uhm; yeah, the lawsuit IS about the self-interest of some Centennial plaintiffs who decided long ago that their VIEW was more important than high school activities on school district property.3. Blueharley: Where were you twelve years ago when these plans were not only discussed, they were PROMISED as part of the equity between the OLD high school and the NEW one?? And, oh- excuse me, were you part of the Centennial Neighborhood Association members and residents who begged the school district to purchase the five acres south of the elementary school - and outbid the developer who wanted to build apartments there????4. Oh, dear parrotoya, you I save for last. You are tired of the misinformed ?? Tell me, were ALL of the residents of the Centennial Neighborhood notified of the so-called Association member's unilateral decision to file a lawsuit, as has ALWAYS been required of the CNA Steering Committee before, rather than after, the fact?? And as for getting the facts straight, let's talk about that. Straighten me out on how property owners who have NEVER been "members" of the CNA are suddenly ready to not only join up, but lead the banner-waving authority of the Association into court? How about the deliberate lie told to the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods by the CNA representative that only certain residents of the neighborhood were suing, NOT THE ASSOCIATION ITSELF?? I believe his words were something to the effect that the local newspaper was characterizing the Centennial Neighborhood Association as a litigant, which wasn't actually the case .... ??

mom_of_three 9 years ago

No, I think the real issue is the future of the kids - having a great and safe place to play, where they would be proud to display school spirit. Haskell only has bathrooms on one side, does it not? Are LHS and FSHS clubs able to make money by selling concessions? Last time I read, only Haskell was able to. ANd what happens when Haskell decides not to renew the lease or raises the lease price so high? Not to mention the other sports who don't have facilities close to the school.

mom_of_three 9 years ago

And the last time I checked, high school sports do not play night games during the winter, and I don't think baseball or softball play too many night games either. Lights are just an excuse, not really an issue.

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

I've seen that space before a "?" before. Be cool now.

Luxor 9 years ago

get rid of sports entirely and focus the money on ACADEMICS where it's supposed to be.

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

Worth repeating:“15 July 2008 at 9:09 a.m.spiderman (Anonymous) says……i am withdrawing from the forum…”

mom_of_three 9 years ago

behemoth - a 4,000 seat stadium. Wouldn't call it a behemoth? I have seen a 6000 seat stadium, and it wasn't that big. Destroy the neighborhood? The high school is already in the neighborhood. The same students that attend the high school would attend the football games, soccer games, etc. If you think drugs are going to suddenly show up in your neighborhood because of the sports facilities, then wake up, because they are already there!!!!

mom_of_three 9 years ago

Maybe the school district should have let some developer buy the land. Then they could build apartments, with parking lot lights that are on 24/7, with college parties, drinking and drugs. Would that be better than a high school football stadium that plays maybe 7 home games a year?"

mom_of_three 9 years ago

No, consumer, but you failed to read what i wrote. IF you think that building the stadium will bring in the drugs, that there isn't a drug problem to begin with, that drug dealers don't already live in the neighborhood, then you have your eyes closed. And because there will be a stadium doesn't mean the drug problems will be increased. Gangs, if there are gangs, are already in the neighborhood because there are schools in the neighborhood. It won't create those issues, because they already exist.

mom_of_three 9 years ago

And it's funny, because if a stadium did bring those issues, then wouldn't it be happening at Haskell Stadium, where the games are currently being held. Don't read much about gang fights in the paper, or drug dealers arrested at the games in the paper.

mom_of_three 9 years ago

doesn't mean those things don't exist, because they probably do, but I don't think a stadium has anything to do with it.

mom_of_three 9 years ago

i have said my piece and then somehave a nice day peoplesome of you probably don't hear it very much

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

"merrill (Anonymous) says… Where is the money? How many more tax dollars will be required to operate the facilities for the long term?"Funny that Richard Heckler doesn't ask this question on projects he likes (ie: the T, roundabouts...). He reserves his "study this to death" anti-tax rants for projects he doesn't like (ie: Oread Hotel, North Lawrence improvements and LHS improvements). Also note that Richard does not have any children in the district.

CNA_Resident 9 years ago

No, Parratuya, the neighborhood was NOT canvassed; nor were homeowners and residents notified that there was going to be a meeting to vote on a LAWSUIT, either. There are more than 600 households in this neighborhood, versus the email list maintained by Jerry Schulz and/or Tom Harper of less than 100 people, with others on that list who absolutely Do. Not. Live. in the neighborhood. Tell me, is that ~your~ version of canvassing?Last time I checked, I am still a designated block captain for distribution of the CNA newsletter, so please tell us all here on the LJW comment list precisely how (not to mention when) this meeting was announced ??!!Oh, Oh!! Does my being a block captain qualify for CNA membership?? Cuz' I saw recently that - according to Jerry Schulz - that "... if you attend a steering committee meeting, you are a steering committee member." Do I have that right?? The quote was from an email Jerry sent out to everyone telling them not to spread the news (I assume to residents of the neighborhood) that there was going to be a (secret) meeting of the Centennial Neighborhood Association last Friday morning ??Oh, and while we're at it, let me see ... several real estate agents were interviewed at the hearing last week, none of whom live anywhere in -- or anywhere near -- the boundaries of the Centennial Neighborhood, but yet -- here we have not one, but two Centennial Neighborhood resident real estate agents, one with over 25 years as a broker, let alone the decades more experience than the others -- ~nawt~ called upon to testify about the speculation in real estate values of the neighborhood once the school district actually gets to deliver on its twelve-year I.O.U. for equity between the old high school and the new one ??Please let's hear your "informed" response, okee-dokee?

CNA_Resident 9 years ago

Consumer1 .......uhm... it ~is~ being built on the existing Lawrence High campus.

Clickker 9 years ago that link on your browser. Massilon Ohio. Rust belt, high unemployment. look what they are doing for thier kids. Just build a multi-million dollar indoor training facility for thier high school teams. In lawrence, we cant even buy a baseball or soccer field where kids dont have to drive 5 miles to practice on death trap roads.Look at any HS in Texas. Even in the poorest areas they figure out a way to make it work. But Lawrence is Lawrence, and we can only spend money on lawsuits to defend the status quo.

letsgetwise 9 years ago

I'm a little behind on this I guess. Wasn't this voted on? I mean, people keep saying the people should vote on this. Wasn't this already approved by vote, before these issues came up?

letsgetwise 9 years ago

And if this issue is still "open", was a district athletic complex considered? I mean, my high schoolers wish a central complex would be built similar to ODAC. I'm assuming the price tag was too much, but was just wondering if this WAS considered?

TopJayhawk 9 years ago

I think by all means you should delay all of these stadiums at all cost. Don't think about all the money over the last several yrs that Topeka has taken away from you because we have a very nice stadium complex. Don't think about the Sunflower games, the state tournaments you are losing out on. Don't think about the hundreds of motel rooms you aren't renting, all the bed tax you are losing out on. Just keep things the way they are.

CNA_Resident 9 years ago

EdJayhawk -No, there is not, nor will there ever be an endorsement, support, sale of, or byob of liquor or illegal drugs allowed on school property - no matter ~who~ is using the fields.Furthermore, there is this incredibly god-dumb stupidity (yo, Consumer1 ?!) that the district will stand idly by after building brand new sports facilities, and let it fall to sh*t.And Spiderman, as has been pointed out on this forum and in court, the district's use of bond monies for facilities improvements, creation, remodeling, etc., have ~always~ been inclusive for all of its buildings; not just one; as you can see in the initial paragraph of each and every bond issue put out for the public to vote on. Specifically, in the last bond, do you see the words "high school" in that second sentence? Bond issues for building facilities is exactly that: any monies remaining from its primary purpose, whether it's used for extra-curricular activities or not; attached to any other structure or not; at any one of, or all of its properties, and at all levels throughout the district, is allowed. Not only is it legal, its precedent reaches back ~unto the beginning~ of bond issues passed by the public for U.S.D. 497 then, now and forever more. And B73Harley, try thinking before you open your mouth on this issue. Equity between the new high school (built in an empty farm field) does ~not~ equal (and is not predicated on) whether there are enough parking spaces for infill on a much older embedded high school in south central Lawrence.Imagine, everyone -- just indulge me here for a moment -- imagine that this project fails -- and let's pretend for a moment that the LHS eventually (over the next decade) becomes unuseful and impractical for students to attend ... and let's say the district is given a very, very lucrative offer on the property -- kinda like what happened to the building it had in the middle of downtown and butt up against the LJW. Now, what. do. you. all. think. such property would be worth? And let's not forget the five acres located at the juncture of two highly travelled streets just south of the old Centennial Elementary building...... hmmmmm. Can someone say "real estate agents' wetdream" for the agency who gets to handle that property -- ?? Just some food for thought, folks.

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

It appears that spiderham's been sent off the pitch.

yoornotmee 9 years ago

"get rid of sports entirely and focus the money on academics where it's supposed to be."Hear hear!"The entire neighborhood has been canvassed."I'm a homeowner and resident of the Centennial neighborhood, I live less than a block away from where this stadium is being built, and I never, not once, received any notification. I still wouldn't know about it if I hadn't read about it here."the email list maintained by Jerry Schulz and/or Tom Harper of less than 100 people"How do I get on that email list?

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