Advertisement

Archive for Monday, June 28, 2010

City has concerns on new fields at LHS

The new football stadium at Lawrence High School is undergoing construction to finish the athletic complex, but a new city inspection questions if the construction matches the plans the city approved.

The new football stadium at Lawrence High School is undergoing construction to finish the athletic complex, but a new city inspection questions if the construction matches the plans the city approved.

June 28, 2010

Advertisement

Construction at Lawrence High could be stalled after inspection

An inspection brought up issues with the additions to the stadium. Enlarge video

City officials have a list of questions they want the Lawrence school district to address as it finishes construction on the athletic complex at Lawrence High School.

The concerns range from landscaping and drainage to issues with lighting and noise related to the project, which has already been through a lawsuit settlement with neighboring property owners.

“Honestly, it’s time to get this all resolved,” City Commissioner Aron Cromwell said.

The district has allocated more than $15 million for improvements to athletic facilities at both Free State and Lawrence high schools. Construction is nearly finished, but city staff members say a recent inspection at the LHS site raised questions about whether the construction matches the plan the city approved in 2008.

Frank Harwood, school district chief operations officer, said the questions were to be expected on a large project that is not yet finished. He said most of the issues should become resolved in recent weeks as contractors work to finish grading areas, pour more sidewalks and complete other work such as landscaping.

Staff members for both sides plan to meet this week.

“We’ll talk about why we did some things differently than what was planned two years ago because some of the things just make more sense to do that way,” Harwood said.

Scott McCullough, director of the city’s planning and development services office, said the city is also checking whether the lights on the fields are in compliance. It could result in the school district meeting with the city commission about an amendment, McCullough said.

Harwood said he did not believe there were problems with how the school district used the facilities.

“I know there have been questions about it, but as far as I know everything is being used correctly,” he said.

Comments

jackbinkelman 3 years, 9 months ago

I drove by said field and dirt mounds recently and was shocked. What the h. e. double toothpicks is that thing? Looks terrible up against the private properties. I really couldn't believe it when I saw it in person. Gawd awful. [maybe the trees and bushes will grow out quite a bit.. let's hope]

0

HomeSlice 3 years, 9 months ago

Make that "southwest". Dag nab it.

0

HomeSlice 3 years, 9 months ago

The city should do a walk-about and look at the water the school fields funnel into the homes to the west. Something that was never going to be an 'issue'. Standing water in back yards, water in basements, ruined sheetrock, insulation, etc. Doesn't matter if the project is 'finished' or not, not supposed to happen, period.

Not talking about that concrete igloo to the southeast - that spud needs to fix his own issues and lack of maintenance (yard, retaining walls and on and on) before flapping his yap.

0

Flap Doodle 3 years, 9 months ago

It appears informer has received a disappeareded card and has been sent off the pitch. woof

0

beobachter 3 years, 9 months ago

informer. why do I think you are simply a BS complainer.

0

Informer 3 years, 9 months ago

Any of the Gentle Readers doubt the veracity of what I have written, just call around to the people mentioned in the preceeding posts and ask them.

Have a lot of salt ready though, because you will need more than a grain or two!

0

Flap Doodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Relax and have a popsicle, informer. It's a (redacted) and (redacted) treat on a summer day.

0

Informer 3 years, 9 months ago

Begin forwarded message:

From: (Redacted) Date: June 4, 2010 9:05:01 PM CDT To: Rick Doll rdoll@usd497.org, Scott Morgan BOE morgans@usd497.org Cc: mikeamyx515@hotmail.com, Scott McCullough smccullough@ci.lawrence.ks.us Subject: Baseball Lights

Dear Rick and Scott,

Tonight, the baseball lights at CVS are being used at a non LHS baseball game. Once again, this is a clear violation of our settlement agreement which prohibits the use of sound and lights by any third party at any time. Please explain why this happened and outline the steps that will be taken to see to it that the terms of our agreement are met.

Sincerely, (Redacted)

According to the agreement, "...in the event any of the Plaintiffs believe LPS has violated any term, covenant or condition of this Agreement they will send LPS notice of such alleged violation in writing to the superintendent of schools of LPS...".

To date I have not receive a written alleged violation from you. In the past the complaints have come in written form, by mail.

When you send me a written complaint I will respond that the we had an unauthorized use of the lights and that the lighting control boxes have now been locked.

(Redacted)writes: Dear Dr. Doll and Mr. Morgan,

It has been more than ten days business since I notified you of the June 4th violation of our settlement agreement outlined below. As of today, neither I nor my attorney, Ronald Schneider, have received a written response from you as required under the terms of our agreement. Please comply with those terms immediately by explaining why this breach occurred and outline the steps that will be taken in the future to ensure that lights and sound are not used on any of the facilities by any third party at any time.

Sincerely, (Redacted)

Begin forwarded message:

From: (Redacted) Date: June 4, 2010 9:05:01 PM CDT To: Rick Doll rdoll@usd497.org, Scott Morgan BOE morgans@usd497.org Cc: mikeamyx515@hotmail.com, Scott McCullough smccullough@ci.lawrence.ks.us Subject: Baseball Lights

Dear Rick and Scott, Tonight, the baseball lights at CVS are being used at a non LHS baseball game. Once again, this is a clear violation of our settlement agreement which prohibits the use of sound and lights by any third party at any time. Please explain why this happened and outline the steps that will be taken to see to it that the terms of our agreement are met.

Sincerely, (Redacted)

0

Informer 3 years, 9 months ago

Continued:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Rick Doll RDoll@usd497.org Date: June 23, 2010 4:50:33 PM CDT To: (Redacted) Cc: (Redacted) Subject: Re: Fwd: Baseball Lights

According to the agreement, "...in the event any of the Plaintiffs believe LPS has violated any term, covenant or condition of this Agreement they will send LPS notice of such alleged violation in writing to the superintendent of schools of LPS...".

To date I have not receive a written alleged violation from you. In the past the complaints have come in written form, by mail.

When you send me a written complaint I will respond that the we had an unauthorized use of the lights and that the lighting control boxes have now been locked.

(Redacted) writes: Dear Dr. Doll and Mr. Morgan,

It has been more than ten days business since I notified you of the June 4th violation of our settlement agreement outlined below. As of today, neither I nor my attorney, Ronald Schneider, have received a written response from you as required under the terms of our agreement. Please comply with those terms immediately by explaining why this breach occurred and outline the steps that will be taken in the future to ensure that lights and sound are not used on any of the facilities by any third party at any time.

Sincerely, (Redacted)

Continued:

0

Informer 3 years, 9 months ago

Informer writes:

"Sent: Fri, Jun 25, 2010 2:44 pm Subject: Call from Ron Schneider

I just received a call from Ron Schneider. Our request for a meeting with Dr. Doll has been denied by Dr. Doll through Pete Curran.

Dr. Doll would prefer that we follow the process we have followed so far, (We send him an email; he ignores it. We remind him that he is obligated to respond; he tells us we have to send a letter; we send the letter, he tells us to check our facts and that our claims are impossible because the school district is doing everything right)

Ron has a call in to Scott McCullough requesting a copy of the "punch list" so we know what the city's expectations are. Where would you like to go from here?

(Redacted)

On Jun 23, 2010, at 5:20 PM, (Redacted) wrote:

On June 4th I sent the email at the bottom of this message notifying Scott Morgan and Rick Doll that there had been yet another violation of our agreement as the baseball field was being used with lights and amplified sound by a third party. No response for fourteen days. Then, when I CC'd the Board that I had not received any response, this is what I get back.

I guess I didn't understand that the superintendent does not consider email to be a written form of communication. I am sorry to have let you all down. Next time, I will be sure to write the message on parchment and have it delivered on horseback so that the he will feel more comfortable reading about and responding to our concerns!

Sincerely yours from the 21st century (I think!), (Redacted)

0

Informer 3 years, 9 months ago

From a recent email conversation:

"Did you see Frank Harwood on Channel 6 tonight? Talked about how the Sept. 1st deadline on LHS Sports Facilities would be hard to meet. Cromwell also talked. You should be able to find the broadcast on Channel 1- On Demand or it will probably be in LJWorld in the a.m. Says groups are meeting this week to discuss changes. Also said school district wants to change landscape plans? Wonder what all that means, especially since Dr. Doll says they won't be meeting with CNA? Should be interesting. "

Further, Affiant saieth naught.

0

blackout 3 years, 9 months ago

from LJW letter to the editor on May 25

The Lawrence school board authorized spending up to $12.1 million on athletic fields in October 2008. That same month, the stock market was down over 40 percent from one year earlier. Two of the five largest investment banks in the nation were no longer in existence, and we were in our worst recession in 70 years.

Supt. Randy Weseman, at an early December 2008 school board meeting, warned about the state shorting school districts on payments and that the potential for less base state aid was there.

Yet in April 2009, one month after the stock market was down more than 50 percent from its peak in October 2007, the school board expanded the total cost of the sports fields, restroom and locker room renovations to $18,944,521. This total includes $5.4 million left over from the 2005 bond funds and earned interest; capital leases of $9,050,000 plus interest of $2,494,521 to be paid; and $2,000,000 of capital outlay funds. I have to credit the school board for creative financing without letting the public vote on whether they approved of all the fields. The 2005 bond did not specify athletic fields, but it was to go for school improvements at the secondary level.

0

KawHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

We need to raise taxes so the high schools can have a JumboTron screen for a scoreboard....and a sports media person at each school to provide content for it....and what about the corporate suites so the Lawrence-upper-crust can watch the boys play football ?

C'mon, USD 497, get busy on those Jumbotrons and corporate skyboxes at the high schools! Whatsa matter wit you ?

0

melott 3 years, 10 months ago

We need to raise taxes so they can put in restrooms, a press box, and a drainage ditch to take away the water.

0

sierraclub 3 years, 10 months ago

Enough said!!! Nice facilities bring in people who want to spend MONEY!! Whinners should outside the box!! Merrill, gee, do you really care how tax dollars are spent?? The current president just spent what, $3 trillion dollars. Any ideal where all the money went? Oh, sorry, it was Bushs fault, no wait, it was Clintons fault, no wait, it was Bush Srs fault, no wait, it was Reagans fault, no wait, it was Carters fault, no wait, it was Fords fault....yep President Ford is to blame!!!! gee, get a life merill......lol.....

0

CHEEZIT 3 years, 10 months ago

Just came back from playing ball in Edwardsville, Il. Population about 35,000. Really nice complex with Football, baseball, soccer, and even a wrestling center! Very nice stadium style baseball field. Nice large parking with arched entry boosting the local team. High school right across the street right in the middle of town. Nuf said!

0

Bob Kraxner 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow ! and I thought the Kansas City school district was corrupt !!! They could take lessons from usd 497, in "How to get kickbacks 101"

0

sherlock 3 years, 10 months ago

merrill ---what plans? What engineer? was there one? after all its only money.

0

Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

What landscaping? Does this mean MORE tax dollars will be spent?

Drainage problems? Does this mean MORE tax dollars will be spent?

How much over budget is this project? Taxpayers deserve to see some numbers!!!

It is far more fiscally responsible to stick with the plans.

This is absolute nonsense - "“We’ll talk about why we did some things differently than what was planned two years ago because some of the things just make more sense to do that way,” Harwood said"

How is it a school district can ignore the taxpayers when funding multi millon dollar projects? Heads should roll long before an election.

Which USD 497 officials were making the decisons? They know when they are violating site plans. This matter has been loaded with reckless decisions from day one!

Taxpayers need to raise hell with the city and USD 497!!!

The violations and and the cost of new ideas needs to be discussed publicly NOT in some office behind closed doors.

0

irvan moore 3 years, 10 months ago

Earth to city commission, we have had concerns about the new fields for quite a while now.

0

chipper 3 years, 10 months ago

All along we have known that the USD 497 board, president, and leadership should have been referred to as the Lawrence 'LYINS'. Now Heywood covers for Bracko's mismanagement, all at taxpayer cost meanwhile.

Project was scheduled to be completed for Fall 2009 LHS football.

0

whyeyeoughtta 3 years, 10 months ago

Poor sheeple, always getting bullied by the big guys...

Plenty of people seem to see the deception right in front of them, but few are willing to actually stick their necks out to ever do anything about it. I advocate for revolt on a group level, and monkey wrenching on a individual level. I jump right to these courses of action as an answer, because being polite and civil, and trying to accomplish things through the "proper channels" does not seem to work for the little guys. Time for some civil disobedience.

0

KawHawk 3 years, 10 months ago

Another lame J-W article with sloppy reporting. What ARE the questions, exactly ? Specifics, people, not another puff-piece that talks around the issue.

0

kujayhawk 3 years, 10 months ago

They have concerns on the field or about the field? My biggest concern about the field is Lawrence High's record at home.

0

lmb 3 years, 10 months ago

"City has concerns on new fields at LHS"

Were the commissioners standing ON the field when they expressed said concerns? Or are their concerns ABOUT the new fields?

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 10 months ago

And this is what Lawrence gets for having two (2) ill conceived bond issues passed.

A new high school should have been built on the east side of town, with South never being torn down and Central closed. Both would then have been combined and moved to the Lawrence High site

And so, the Lawrence KS experiment in shortsighted education continues.

Buyer BEWARE of the next bond issue to come about. Will the populace become as smart as they profess to be and vote NO.?

0

autie 3 years, 10 months ago

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

0

svenway_park 3 years, 10 months ago

Will there be any licensed but non-degreed pretend architects attending?

0

Boston_Corbett 3 years, 10 months ago

And I have some suggestions for the friggin city:

1) Fix. The. Roads.

2) New recreation center? See #1

3) Wellness center? See #1

0

Machiavelli_mania 3 years, 10 months ago

I dislike builders and developers intensely. They have no foresight whatsoever. And the bid is never really what the actual cost is going to be and it never comes in on time, with no penalty whatsoever for taking it all to the extremes as they do.

The city can be a fool for them. The school board can be a fool for them. But I will never ever be a fool for them. The world is better without developers.

0

JustNoticed 3 years, 10 months ago

I feel your pain, Mach. But it's always been like this in Lawrence with developers doing what they want and getting permission later. The only thing that changes is which neighborhood is the victim du jour. Those residents get excited, get politicized, maybe ameliorate a few of the more egregious assaults by the development but generally get shafted. They drop out of the political process when it's all over, disillusioned and sickened by having learned that greed rules. Then it starts all over somewhere else in town.

0

Machiavelli_mania 3 years, 10 months ago

Who is making money on this? Anyone know?

0

Machiavelli_mania 3 years, 10 months ago

Meanwhile, teachers are laid off and schools are closing.

Nice little effort to selfishly let your brawn-minded child pretend to have their "glory days" at the expense of those children who really just want a good future.

0

sierraclub 3 years, 10 months ago

After reading the comments, it really sounds like you whinners need to get on the school board or the city commission. The lights are on for LHS games. These games bring in high school players from around our area. The players bring friends, parents, and relatives. These people spend money in Lawrence!!! See the pattern?? Gee, only in Lawrence do the whinners win!!! lol Maybe Lawrence just needs to put a gate to the entrance of Lawrence, you know, keep the people who want to spend money out!!! lol Just let the helpless in!!! lol gee, lawrence, get with the program.... lol......

0

Machiavelli_mania 3 years, 10 months ago

This is what happens when a project like this gets shoved down our throats by supporters with no foresight whatsoever.

They ridiculed the opposition, the nay-sayers, and keesling let them do it without compunction.

The entire field project is one massively expensive joke on the school board who showed stupidity and the field's supporters who were even more stupid!!!!

0

overthemoon 3 years, 10 months ago

It's been noted that Art Students at Lawrence High have received literally millions of dollars in college scholarships due to the excellent efforts of both past and current outstanding art teachers. Art alumni have many many very successful artists among their numbers and the program has positively touched the lives of students who took a class or two just for the experience.

The art rooms are slightly better than the boiler rooms, located in a sub basement with no natural light, cramped and crowded with ancient equipment and a severely limited budget for supplies. But the football fields get millions to build a problematic facility. You'd think that during the past renovations, yearly budgeting and spending of outrageous amount of money on sports that one of the most successful programs in the school would get a bit of money for improvements and needed supplies. Nope.

0

irvan moore 3 years, 10 months ago

My favorite part is since the lights don't appear to be in compliance they want to change the agreement instead of changing the lights to be in compliance. PLEASE city commisioners, for once stand up and do what's right for a neighborhood instead of bowing down to the school board. If we have no money how can we afford to keep the lights on all the time?

0

headdoctor 3 years, 10 months ago

Priceless. The construction has been going on how long, and now the City wants answers to questions. The City wonders why people get cranky with them. You would think that most people owning a house where a high school has been for decades would have noticed it there and realized there could be some disruptions that go along with it.

You would think the City would learn it does no good to close the gate after the cattle are already out. Since it seems that it is never to late maybe the City should start answering questions about things like the new Walmart and other questionable developments.

0

sherlock 3 years, 10 months ago

anyone else note that most everything lately that the board has wanted to promote, money wise, they seem to still have funds left over from the 2005 school bond? Believe they must have spent it more than 3X now! First for the "savings" from South Jr. High, and put into the athletic field, and lately more they found for the press box and concession/rest rooms at LHS. Say, they must have a good interest bearing account some place that none of us have found yet! Or is it a money tree? Why was it left over anyway? Thought was earmarked for improvments of elementary schools plus the blding of South? Could they have intentionally saved back some and not used it where the bond that passed stated it was for?
Does anyone else think there could be a slight of hand?

0

melott 3 years, 10 months ago

The residents are keeping a close eye. So far we have a mosquito infested swamp lights on all the time after hours by unscheduled users * ditto noise

No evidence of any intent from the school system to fix anything.

0

LadyJ 3 years, 10 months ago

This comes at a time when the city wants the school district to donate land they paid $1.7 million for to their wellness center plan. Do you really think they are going to give the school district a hard time just when they want something from them? I think residents around the stadium should keep a close eye on this.

0

grimpeur 3 years, 10 months ago

jmadison gets the cigar.

Couple more questions:

1 ) Could this money, which (stadium supporters remind us) was not available for salaries, etc., have been used for capital improvements other than stadia?

2) Who could have predicted the current need for capital improvements (other than stadia) throughout the district? (Answer: almost everybody who is paying attention.)

3) When's the next vote on capital improvement bonds? (Follow-up: who in their right mind would vote yes after this debacle?)

0

Keith 3 years, 10 months ago

“We’ll talk about why we did some things differently than what was planned two years ago because some of the things just make more sense to do that way,” Harwood said.

The main reason they'll give is that they know the commission is spineless because developers get away with this bait and switch all the time, so the school district knew they were just fine doing what they wanted, not what the plan called for.

0

jmadison 3 years, 10 months ago

?15 million. These projects were sold to the electorate as $2.4 million each. Time to raise the property tax levies to fund this spending.

0

cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

Why hasn't construction on the press box started yet?

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.