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Archive for Tuesday, July 14, 2009

School board accepts donation for new facility

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.

July 14, 2009

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School board accepts anonymous donation

The Lawrence school board voted to accept an anonymous $400,000 donation to help with construction costs at Free State High School. The donation will go toward building new athletic facilities. Enlarge video

The Firebirds will have a place to roost near their football field come fall.

The Lawrence school board accepted a donation from an anonymous donor at a special meeting Monday night. In return, the board agreed to build a field-level facility that contains locker rooms, restrooms and concessions at Free State.

The donation will cover any expenses over the $400,000 allotted for restrooms, concessions and storage at Free State. There was talk of extending halftime for home football games at the school because of the long walk to locker room facilities located in the school. The contract with the donor and contractor will also include converting an outbuilding on the northern side of the field into a restroom facility.

“This was a need at Free State,” said school board President Scott Morgan. “To leave money like this on the table in this budget climate, I think it just would be irresponsible.”

The board had already approved $250,000 for locker room renovations at Lawrence High’s west gym. While equality between the two schools is an ongoing issue, board Vice President Rich Minder said it’s something that can be corrected over time if the need arises.

“The public benefits in a large enough way that the downside of a possible inequity between the two ... doesn’t outweigh the overall benefit,” Minder said.

Free State Principal Ed West was on hand to hear the donation’s fate and is happy with the outcome.

“It’s just going to add to the ambiance of the place and the functionality of it,” West said. “The kids can take pride in it. It’ll be wonderful.”

Chief Operations Officer Frank Harwood said the contract currently being discussed says that if the donor pulls out, the building will be finished as specified and the liability will go to the contractor. The district also has control over the aesthetic side.

“It’s the school district’s building,” Harwood said. “The school district has to decide what they want the building to look like when it’s done.”

The contract also says the building must be done by Sept. 18, the first home game for the Firebirds.

Lawrence High update

Lawrence High also has $400,000 allotted for restrooms, storage and concessions at its site. The board wants to place four buildings, one at each corner of the football field, for those purposes.

The board told Harwood to go with pre-engineered buildings that cost a little over $100,000 each. However, the buildings do have to be put together and construction is an additional cost and will go over the allotted funds.

“There is money in the construction budget that would cover that,” Harwood said.

The two buildings on the north end corners will include restrooms and concessions. The two south end corner buildings will be just restrooms.

“We went with the one we think the neighbors will appreciate better in terms of the way it looks as well as, obviously, everybody else,” Morgan said. “In the long run, it costs you more if you get cheap on it.”

The restrooms and concessions will probably be done in early October.

Comments

Clickker 5 years ago

Seems a little "Seperate but UNequal" to me.

I'm sure Fender and the boys are getting the the big guns ready to do the same at LHS.

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in123 5 years ago

"Chief Operations Officer Frank Harwood said the contract currently being discussed says that if the donor pulls out, the building will be finished as specified and the liability will go to the contractor. The district also has control over the aesthetic side."

What contractor would accept this unless they know the donor? Sounds like the donor is the contractor in which case they are buying the contract. It appears to be an effective way of eliminating competitive bidding. How much will the donor truly donate? USD497 needs to be more forthcoming with information.

Why isn't the donor putting the money up front?

People will say don't look a gift horse in the mouth but then there was that gift horse that the Trojans failed to look at.

We haven't heard the last of this story.

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Lori Nation 5 years ago

Here we go again, anything for sports related. How about donations for education and getting children to school safely??????????

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jmm35 5 years ago

"Seperate but UNequal"? Really? The whole reason why fifty percent of junior high students lose half of their friends when they go to their respective high schools, is because they don't want all the upper class kids to go to the same school. That being said, there in theory should be just as many "potential" donors on the south side of town. Don't take it out on the kids on the north side. The school district did the right thing. There is without doubt in my mind, someone who could afford to make a similar donation to LHS. They just need to take the same pride in their school as graduates and parents of students at Free State High and do something to better their school and the future of their students.

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Clickker 5 years ago

"The whole reason why fifty percent of junior high students lose half of their friends when they go to their respective high schools, is because they don't want all the upper class kids to go to the same school"

What???

Who are the "upper class kids"? It seems that all the gerrymandering in the world wont eventually keep development from steering toward the high school that is deemed better or more attractive. Having "better" facilities, regardless of the fact that some LHS boosters may be able to donate as well, is simply unequal.

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jmm35 5 years ago

It is not unequal. Look at any school in any of the Kansas City school districts. They don't all have to have the same identical facilities. If equal is what everyone wants, then the city and its voters should have passed building a facility that the two schools shared, similar to ODAC. Apparently the majority decided that they wanted the schools to have their own stadiums, to do what they want with. It just so happens that somebody decided to donate to Free State first. Now LHS just needs to match.

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lynchburgsbest 5 years ago

if i recall lhs got a donation for 100,000 dollars to their scholarship fund that free state did not i also recall lhs got a weight room built for them and free state did not 6 or 7 years ago. the chip falls both ways each school has gotten something the other school has not gotten and that is just the way it happens. LHS will get a donation that will mae the free state people made and they will be calling foul just like the LHS people are doing now. their is not possible way to make the two schools =. if they wanted equality they should have built one facility.

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3up3down 5 years ago

Equity smequity. How cares? If you take a good look at both high schools, there are no locker rooms, bathrooms or concession stands near the FSHS's football field. Half time would have to be lengthened and the teams escorted up the hill across the lot to the locker rooms at the high school building. This is not good for fans or players. If somebody wants to donate with no strings attached and especially with the economy as it is, take what you can get.

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mom_of_three 5 years ago

There has been inequity for years, and it will never change. How nice was it that Free State had a baseball field, and a softball field, which LHS did not? Free State girls basketball got new uniforms before LHS girls basketball did, and LHS had older uniforms (and a state championship). It happens, and will continue to happen. Educationally speaking, I think it is equal.
Anyway, Free State's field is not that far from the high school to have to extend half time. But it will be nice for them to have facilities closer which were donated.

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Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Due to confusion of priorities it appears as though this $20,000,000(million) project will require a donor... *School Maintenance http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

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Shelley Bock 5 years ago

Iristh says....

"Here we go again, anything for sports related. How about donations for education and getting children to school safely??????????"

I can say that here we go again with "damn sports over academics" comments once again. Clearly, expenditures for acadmics and sports are needed by any school district. For those of us who are interested in both, it is finally time that this school district has taken ownership of sports facilities. After years of renting places all over town, the district will be controlling facilities on campus which can be used by the community.

In other years, there will be funding for academics and building improvement. It's not necessary to dump on sports when, for the first time ever, sports will be played on campus in both high schools. In the case of football, this is 80 years in the making. For soccer, it is over 20 years at LHS.

Go ahead and "dis" the contruction now if you feel comfortable in accepting criticism of funds for acadmeics in the future. Personally, I will support all for the overall good of the community.

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MissinLawrence 5 years ago

nice one ironhorse

While I think it is great that this "donor" is donating money to Free State only (LHS has tradition, we do not need fancy things like close locker rooms), I wonder why this individual prefers to remain anonymous

please tell me its not Big D Freeman

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budwhysir 5 years ago

OH, but that wasnt done fairly and Im going to cry cause we didnt get a donation and the bolts used to put things together are different colors and maybe lhs has more bricks in the building and if our kids dont have the same thing on both sides of town the world will stop spinning and lawrence will fall off the map as an equal supplier of higher education

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notajayhawk 5 years ago

“The public benefits in a large enough way ..."

Really?

The public is going to be using the locker rooms?

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Shelley Bock 5 years ago

That's perfectly right "notajayhawk". The common good of the public will benefit. When did we develop such narrow sighted vision of the common good?

If you live in Lawrence, at sometime in the past, present or future, you probably want a paved road in front of your house, a sidewalk, sewer connections, accessible power and water hook-ups, police / fire protection and available schools. Why should Lawrence and the community satisfy these requirements for you? Why should I spend money on you and your requirements? No reason whatsoever, but for the common good of the all residents.

It is very likely that these facilities will not be used by the general pucblic, but at some time many students...sons, daughters, grandchildren, cousins, neighbors, future employees, employers etc., will be. That is satifaction of the public good and the public benefits.

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Shelley Bock 5 years ago

ironhorse66...I just hope it doesn't burn down during construction.

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