Archive for Thursday, July 9, 2009

Donor ready to write Lawrence schools a check for new locker rooms at Free State — but there’s a catch

Fields take shape 1 piece at a time

Jeremy Murphy, left, and Jeff Coe, both of Independence, Mo., and both employees with V.F. Anderson Builders of Raymore, Mo., construct the stone block risers for fan seating Thursday at Lawrence High School’s new football field. The home side of the field will have 12 rows of seats while the visitors’ side, on the east side, will have nine rows.

Jeremy Murphy, left, and Jeff Coe, both of Independence, Mo., and both employees with V.F. Anderson Builders of Raymore, Mo., construct the stone block risers for fan seating Thursday at Lawrence High School’s new football field. The home side of the field will have 12 rows of seats while the visitors’ side, on the east side, will have nine rows.

July 9, 2009


Workers continue installing the block building for the stands at the new Free State field on Tuesday.

Workers continue installing the block building for the stands at the new Free State field on Tuesday.

The track surface is down and workers are installing blocks for seating on the west side of the new Lawrence High football field on Tuesday.

The track surface is down and workers are installing blocks for seating on the west side of the new Lawrence High football field on Tuesday.

An anonymous donor is ready to hand over a check to the Lawrence school district, but only if the school board agrees to construct a multiuse facility on the south end of the Free State High football field.

As part of the outdoor athletic facilities upgrade, the board allocated $400,000 per high school for restrooms, concessions and storage. The donation would pay the amount over the already approved funds if the plan included a field-level locker room for the Firebirds.

“My initial reaction when I first heard about it was one of concern about the equity,” said school board president Scott Morgan. “We get all this stuff done, and now we’re going to throw it out of whack again.”

However, the board also approved a $250,000 locker room renovation for Lawrence High’s West Gym. The lockers will be used for Friday night games and are much closer to the field. Morgan said Free State High was planning to make half-time longer so teams could get to the lockers located inside the school and back again.

“We were going to make it work, but this stepped in,” said Morgan. “We’re doing it at Lawrence High. It’d be nice to have some similar facility that could be used at Free State.”

Although the board has yet to approve accepting the donation for the facility, members did want the administration to look into what the deal would entail.

District chief operations officer Frank Harwood said the administration had asked for construction bids. The district will then go back to the donor to see what can be accomplished with what the giver is willing to spend.

“In talking with (Free State Principal) Ed West, that was going to need to be a consideration in the future,” said Harwood. “This donation could help us take care of the problem we knew we were going to have at some point.”

The facility could also include restrooms and concessions.

“There’s a lot of details to work out, a lot of other issues,” said Tom Bracciano, operations and facility planning division director. “Some of the restrooms actually could be, if not all of them, incorporated in that facility.”

Morgan said he didn’t want to encourage a bidding war between Free State and Lawrence High alumni, but there were some rumblings that some former Lions were looking to add to the outdoor facilities.

“There has been some talk already there about putting together some sort of plaza area,” said Morgan, which could include a type of arch representing Haskell Stadium, where the team played for many years. “That’s not very far along, I don’t think, but I think there are people who will step forward to do some of the things that we can’t afford to do that make it that much nicer.”

Now, the board will wait to hear the bids for the Free State field facility to see if members want to accept the donation and a contract to build the locker rooms. The donor also said the facility would have to be done by Sept. 15, the Firebirds’ first home game.

“I think anything’s possible,” said Bracciano, in reference to what would be a quick construction time. “Some people thought we had an extremely aggressive time frame on these (the fields).”

Field positions

Although Bracciano noted the quick completion schedule, he also said the field was on schedule to be ready by Aug. 15.

“The restrooms ... will probably not be done,” he said. “We’ll have some portable restrooms. The restrooms and concessions won’t be completed, but they’ll be done shortly after.”

The district had to present its plan for the restrooms and concessions to the Centennial neighbors before they began construction on those elements at Lawrence High as part of a lawsuit settlement. The original plan included converting a maintenance building on the east side of the football field into a large restroom space, but spectators cannot be farther than 500 feet from restrooms.

“We’re looking at a couple outbuildings, instead of that one major facility,” said Bracciano.

The neighbors are also pleased with the idea of smaller facilities.

“I think it’s better for everybody. I think it’s better for the neighbors. I think it’s better for people with disabilities,” said neighbor Bob Tryanski. “It will service more people in more locations.”

But it could also add to the cost.

“Using the existing buildings saved us $100,000, $150,000,” said Bracciano. “Changing the plan a little bit, it could be more expensive. They do have some (prefabricated) units. We’ll just have to see what the prices come out to.”

Tryanski said it seemed the Centennial neighbors were happy with some things, including the potential of the drainage system, yet to be completed, but they still had some concerns.

“There’s some concerns about lights. There are some concerns about landscaping,” he said. “We have to see the process through and continue discussions as we move through the process.”

Morgan says he’s happy with the improvements at both high schools.

“It sounds pathetic, but I almost get teary eyed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Free State is waiting on the softball field to be finished. Work continues on soccer, baseball, tennis and parking at Lawrence High.


basketballer 8 years, 8 months ago

Lots and lots of money....geez...we all played on and did quite well at both Lawrence High and Free State with what we had. I know upgrades are needed, but it seems like anymore everyone has to always try to get bigger and better things...I'm not just talking about high school, but college level too. High school kids and college kids, get used to the best, the best, and the newest and when the sports are over and the jobs are not there, whether you have 2 degrees plus a Master's or not" the real world hits you in the face hard and the 2 bedroom duplex, one bath with no covered parking for $575.00, no pets, and you better shovel that sidewalk yourself, becomes the reality. I'm glad the students are getting these improvements in fields, courts, etc, and I just hope they truly appreciate the nice over the top things they have available to them at the present, because as we all know, nothing lasts forever!

Zype 8 years, 8 months ago

It's always about the sports, isn't it. Meanwhile, programs like theatre, arts, music, ect. remain drastically under-funded.

lawrencelifer59 8 years, 8 months ago

What a ridiculous sweeping generalization of Lawrence kids! As a parent of a senior-to-be and two others already through high school I can safely say that most of the kids I have encountered are not "spoiled brats".

You sound like someone with no kids...if this is the case you should wait until you have a little more "experience" before spouting-off like this.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

"lawrence kids are self centered spoiled brats" Speak for your own kids! Geez, wrong side of the bed or what, folks?

"over the top" - I don't think so. Our kids travel to other schools who have much nicer facilities than the ones being built. Some schools are bigger, others are smaller.

Arguing over the lights - still? Puhlease....there will only be maybe 7 home football games. And very few softball, baseball or soccer under the lights. It won't be as much of a hassle as you are making it into. Not every kid is into theatre, arts and music, just like not every kid is into sports. All of these things offered (hopefully) make a well rounded kid. I have a kid into sports, music and science. It's all important.
I am looking forward to the fields. The band won't have to be bussed to Haskell, the students will have pride with their own stadium, next to their school.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Didn't a LHS alum donate money toward computer scholarships, the computer club or something a year or two ago??

classclown 8 years, 8 months ago

Be careful mom_of_three. You might end up with zstoltenberg or someone like it coming on here and lecturing you about your ignorance and getting your facts straight and then whining because everyone points out it's own hypocrisy.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Then you have numnuts like prolifers who make generalizing statements about what they think you said.
Education is important. Arts, music, theatre are important, sports are important. But every time you spend money, especially on the latter two, someone from any of the other remaining groups has to whine because it isn't their group which is getting the money.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

iced - you are still wrong about your generalization of lawrence kids.
not sure why you think all kids in lawrence are spoiled.....but then again.... you are the one posting comments on a paper in a town where you no longer live.....

Robert Rauktis 8 years, 8 months ago

A bidding war with JoCo at the high school level, and Tejas at the college level-if these people are feeling so inadequate, couldn't they just get a handgun like the rest of the stubs?

Tammy Copp-Barta 8 years, 8 months ago

Just curious .. does the anonymous donor live in Lawrence and is paying school tax to build all of these things? Or are they just giving the money and we get stuck with the rest of the bill .. I understand $400K has already been allocated .. but curious how much more it's gonna cost us ....

Freestater456 8 years, 8 months ago

Iced if you check to see if the "daily violence" has taken anyone you knew then maybe you should stick to reading stories about violence. You have no business commenting on this story especially if you are going to make asinine comments like your first post. If you hate Lawrence and the people in it so much then stay off this website.

Dan Eyler 8 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

TacoBob 8 years, 8 months ago

Gift horse - take the money and run.

rubberband 8 years, 8 months ago

kansasfaithful, perhaps you should look again at the name of the poster to whom mom_of_three was responding. She wasn't making a comparison with being pro life.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 8 months ago

The LJW made a rivalry between the two schools with its sports coverage and the count of which high school has the most sports wins. Now they have an opportunity to play both sides with making a rivalry between the two schools for sports fund raising. Way to go LJW, split the town more. I don't believe any other Kansas town with two high schools has a newspaper that promotes division as much as LJW. ---but ... but ... but ... *it sells papers! gets more online hits, sells more merchandise!

so, we learn that Bronzie and his ginned up frivolous lawsuit is dramatically increasing the cost for the fascilities to serve the students/fans at the LHS field.

thanks Bronzie, your concern about the school's budget seems so very genuine now! not to mention the lawsuit itself drained off about $15,000 from the school district.

You and your knitpickie neighbors are worried about the lights? you chose to live nextdoor to a high school FGS!

oh yes, Bronzie, your concern about the money is so genuine.

you've been thrown off at least seven times. when you gonna get TOSsed off this comment board again?

pace 8 years, 8 months ago

We don't have money for Phys ed. classes, good technical classes, but sports gets millions. If I had a budget, and my goal was to help people be educated and employable, I wouldn't waste it year after year on a small percentage of students learning that passing a ball makes them important. I would use it to create classes that encourage healthy people, able to work and how to continue to learn. The culture of youth sports is a corrupted one and the cult of sports puts us as a country to shame.

Vinny1 8 years, 8 months ago

Anyone arguing that the money needs to be put into the performing arts is just ignorant.

  1. The sports, especially football, bring in the most money. Theater, music, and other performing arts bring absolutely no money into the school. So which do you think is going to get more spent on it?

  2. The money being talked about is being DONATED. If the donor specifies where the money is to be spent, there is not much you can do about it.

  3. If you are unhappy with the way this donation is going to be spent, write out your own check to the district and specify that it is only to be spent on the programs you want it to be.

TopJayhawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Didn't they just build Free State a few yrs ago? Not much forsight apparently from the planners. I don't know why you don't do what we did in Topeka. Build one really nice athletic facility that two H.S. can easily share. It also brings in out of town folks for tournaments and the sunflower games, you guys remember that don't you? Big time money maker for the city which we stole from you because we have better facilities. We got this because of the self-centered myopia of the artsy-fartsy crowd.

deskboy04 8 years, 8 months ago

I disagree with Vinny's first point. High School sports do bring in some money. But when you compare that with the money they cost, they all lose money. That doesn't mean that I disagree with the upgrade. I think that the sports facilities were needing this kind of attention. And by the way, Lawrence also has a strong performing arts program at each school. The administration of USD 497 has always supported those programs.

honestone 8 years, 8 months ago

Mom-of-three is somehow connected to the sports world of Lawrence. She has let us know that before. That explains her skewed perspective. I agree with her. We should give some of our kids professional level playing fields while we let the band kids blow retread flutes and our math students can share second hand books...but the Johnson county kids will really want to come play on our field because it is so nice. We are so lucky.

whatadrag 8 years, 8 months ago

You're off base honestone, our HS music programs aren't lacking, and what difference could a second-hand math book make, especially when math is mostly learned through the methods the teacher displays on the board/overhead. Weak argument.

NDNJAYHAWKER 8 years, 8 months ago

Whats the big deal? If someone is gonna donate money to make a facility a little sharper, then by all means do it! I think you all get to talking about something and then throw it all out of whack. Just stick to the title of the story. But for ICE, you need to get a life and leave Lawrence alone! We are and always will be a better town with better kids than any where!

BigAl 8 years, 8 months ago

Mom Of Three is absolutely 100% right on. Sports, Theatre, Art, Music ...all of it is important. All of it. The Lawrence Schools have been lacking in sports facilities for a very long time. Way behind most other schools in the state.
All I hear is whine, whine, whine. And now we are even talking about free money to the taxpayer and some of the people are still whining.

While I am at it, I will say that the high school bands at Free State and LHS are tremendous. They also use the sporting fields and participate in the athletic events. I wonder, should we do away with the bands also?

By the way, Lawrence kids are great.

atemple14 8 years, 8 months ago

What most people don't know is that the school board owns land over by K10 and plan on building a new high school within the next 5-7 years. So now becuase the board made the dumb decision to give each high school their own facilities instead of making one big facility they can share...the new high school will have to have everything the other 2 have. That includes....a football field, baseball field, a pool, a wood shop, an automotive shop...and on and on. facility should have been made..surely if Olathe schools can share we can...YSI would have been a perfect location.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 8 months ago

If kids have to go to a shabby school then they think that is what the community thinks about them and the learning process. Sports are very important. I credit sports with helping my granddaughter to stay focused and play by the rules and learn to be part of a team. She also had to get up early to play when sometimes she didn't want to. People are what they are. Sometimes we all do things on the spur of the moment that does not define who we are.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

So far, I am skewed and screwball. Well, that's because you numnuts can't read.

yes, I have kids who play sports in this town. The same kids are in band, love music, theatre, great in science and like their art programs. Am I skewed? Heck, freaking no. BUT the facilities for sports are lacking in this town. Are other things lacking? Yes. But right now, we are dealing with sports.
If we were as big as Topeka, we could build a complex which could provide equality. But I bet those schools still have practice facilities near or by their school. LHS did not.
NO, I wasn't raised in this town. I was raised in south central kansas. Moved here as an adult, and now I attend KU. My kids were born and are going to school here.

Outdated school books have been a problem since I was in elementary school. It will continue to be a problem because of the constant updates to materials and information. I believe they updated the science labs to LHS a couple of years ago. Is it the greatest? NO, probably not, but what do you want - a nuclear reactor or science labs like KU?
All of it is important, and like I said before (which most of you didn't read), no one will ever be happy with what the district spends money on. Someone always feels left out.
Thanks, Big Al.

whatadrag 8 years, 8 months ago

Where are you getting this information about another high school, atemple? Sounds like you're full of it.

Kontum1972 8 years, 8 months ago

hmmm...mb in indoor shooting range ..marksmanship is sport esp., with a war going on.

deskboy04 8 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure what people are saying. Isn't a cool thing that someone is willing to donate money for facilities? The Lawrence schools have always enjoyed tremendous support from the community. This is an asset.

bd 8 years, 8 months ago

Hey, is the construction guy in the background on the left scratching his kahonies????

NDNJAYHAWKER 8 years, 8 months ago

Keen EYE, bd! Now that everyone went and looked, cause I did! LMAO, I know LJWorld has a cropping on there computers!

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

The bleachers do not look very big, with 12 rows for home, and 9 for away. But then it doesn't say how long they will be. If you are going to build them, make for enough room.

Chad Badowski 8 years, 8 months ago

just like the police arrest of the 17 year old, you people are complaining about a donation. If you love arts so much then donate money to that program. Its unreal how much people complain about stuff nowadays yet don't put their checkbook where their mouth is.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Would be interesting to know how many seats are being planned - but they could be long bleachers..

I saw a little bit of the construction as I drove to work this morning. May have to take a different way home to get a better look.

lionsrock 8 years, 8 months ago

Grandpa Bob Stephans must have opened up his wallet again.........

Fort_Aubrey 8 years, 8 months ago

Is Bronze the same architect who never went to architecture school and wasted taxpayers money by suing the school district on all of this?

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

If someone wants to give money to build a locker room. IF someone wanted to give money to improve science labs or whatever, then go for it. If you give money, then you get to say what it's for.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 8 months ago

Fort-aubrey, you nailed it, yes he is, also has had at least seven other screen names on here, having been thrown off at least seven times for violation of the Terms of Service TOS.

on this thread he is worried about lighting for the tennis courts...LOL. in April he was all inflamed that there might be lights at the new tennis courts.

elsewhere, Bronzie beefs about the choice of the restroom facilities, like he has some kinda say.

yes, his ginned up lawsuit was frivolous and cost the district about $15,000.

now, he's beefing about the height of the berm as mandated in the agreement of that suit, like he's against a higher berm? huh? he had expressed concerns about noise, well higher berms prevent noise.

if one looks back at the discussion of lights for the tennis courts, you don't see his comments there, because as "ocean" he got himself kicked or TOSsed off.

please also note his obsessive posting on this thread. this is one of his tactics, along with harrassing PM's, purposeful lies, or ommissions of information, common in Bronzie's history.

Bronzie, will you get yourself thrown off today?

bearded_gnome 8 years, 8 months ago

maybe the school district has such a plot of land.

how does atemple know that's for a third high school?

sounds like a nutty conspiracy theory to me.

and I love how Bronzie picks it up, a conspiracy theory with zero evidence to support it.

branzie wants more expensive fancy johns at the LHS field, the field he has fought tooth and nail, with the neighborhood agreement he signed without good faith. he doesn't even own a house there.

maybe if they get famcy toilets, they could name them for him, using his actual name? they could be the ------ honor toilets?

atemple14 8 years, 8 months ago

The land is for a 3rd high school...the schools are getting more and more crowed and they are also very soon moving 9th graders up to the high schools which will make them even more crowded... and 6th graders are going up to the junior highs.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 8 months ago

still no actual evidence, just an anonymous poster's speculation.

hey here's an idea: what if a donor gave enough money to buy enough pictures of Bronzie, so they could be hung in each of those lhs field toilets?

atemple14 8 years, 8 months ago

I'm a teacher...I know whats going on

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