Archive for Monday, May 17, 2010

Stadium inequities a costly lesson

After accepting gift for Free State field, district must pay to keep LHS on par

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.

May 17, 2010


LHS stadium plans over budget

Construction plans for new fields at LHS have come in about $300,000 over budget. The issue of equity between sports facilities at Lawrence High and Free State High School continues to be a hot topic. Enlarge video

Higher construction bids are complicating the efforts of Lawrence school board members to make sure the new athletic stadiums at the city’s two high schools are equitable.

Free State High School received a major gift from an anonymous donor in 2009 that helped build a facility near the stadium for locker rooms, restrooms and concession stands.

District officials say they are trying to make the Lawrence High stadium nice as well, but that will come with a cost. The low bid for two new buildings to house restrooms and concession stands at the track and football stadium came in at $675,000. The original budget was $400,000.

“One thing that we knew that would come out is, obviously, there would be additional cost in that from what was originally budgeted for the facility,” board member Mark Bradford said. “So we’re having to look to make judgment on whether or not the additional costs are appropriate to this inequity issue.”

Bradford at last week’s meeting said board members created the inequity when they accepted the Free State donation. Board members did award the $675,000 bid to Lawrence-based First Construction, 5-1, with Marlene Merrill absent and Vanessa Sanburn opposed to it.

Sanburn said the board should have waited to approve the project until it had bids for adding a press box at Lawrence High.

She said the district is in a tough position but she’s also worried about the higher costs because several elementary buildings need repairs.

Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer, said bids are coming in higher because the $400,000 estimate was based on the restroom facilities being lower-quality modular type buildings. Construction costs are also increasing compared with a year ago.

An LHS booster group is interested in raising funds to add to the stadium, possibly a version of the arch at Haskell Stadium, where LHS played football for decades.

Harwood said the district is working with its contractor to try to reduce costs. For example, board members actually approved a version of the LHS restroom and concession buildings that will cost a little less than $675,000.

“In trying to kind of balance and finish the stadiums and help them be the really great places they are, the costs were more than we anticipated partly because we changed what we were looking at doing,” Harwood said.

Board members in 2008 approved more than $18 million in work for athletic stadiums and fields at both high schools. To date, the board has allocated about $15 million to the project, Harwood said. The LHS press box will put the total cost at more than $15 million, he said.

“These will be better facilities in the long run than the modular ones we were looking at. It’s not just crazy athletics over elementary,” board President Scott Morgan said. “This is a thing that our kids use, our community uses, and I think we would do it in a decent manner for a reasonable approach.”


Steve Jacob 5 years ago

Sure the laid of teachers love to hear this, and the board can't use the "bond issue" excuse.

svenway_park 5 years ago

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

JimmyJoeBob 5 years ago

No one worried about the inequities when Free State played baseball and softball at their fields with no bathrooms, concession stand, or decent bleachers for all those years. LHS had Ice Field which had all those things. LHS will just have to pitch a tent for the concession stand and they can use Johnny on the Spots for a few years. Or wait for a benefactor.

mom_of_three 5 years ago

LHS had ICE field-----you mean the baseball field at Holcom, which was not in LHS try again, Jimmy......LHS has had to travel to practice for most of their sports for years, while Free State had it in their backyard.....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Board members did award the $675,000 bid to Lawrence-based First Construction"

Is First Construction in any way affiliated with First Management?

Keith 5 years ago

If there was any Truth in Naming law, it would probably have to be called Me First Construction.

svenway_park 5 years ago

Hi Sven. Jonathan is back in town. I wonder how long you will last.

cato_the_elder 5 years ago

"...board members created the inequity when they accepted the Free State donation." Very true, but (a) at least 10,000 people in Lawrence knew this would happen before the Board voted to do it, which (b) causes one to wonder what planet the board was on. Many people questioned this before it was done. For anyone who has observed the imbalance in the two schools' facilities since 1997, it was a no-brainer that the powers that be would ensure that the school north of 15th got a Taj Mahal, as the result of which the taxpayers would get stiffed in order to attempt to provide some semblance of equity for LHS when it finally got its own concession and rest room facilities and press box, a year later of course. You can't blame the donor - in a free society, there's no harm in making such an offer. It was up to the Board to say "no," which it undoubtedly would have done if the donor had offered to do it at LHS instead.

lawrence_citizen 5 years ago

They should have built one facility for the 2 schools to share, then this would not have been an issue. Plenty of other districts have 3 and 4 schools sharing a single facility. What makes Lawrence so special?

mom_of_three 5 years ago

yes, several school districts in Overland Park, Shawnee Mission and Olathe share a facility, BUT they also have practice facilities at their school, which LHS did not have for baseball, softball or soccer. And the football field was in bad shape to practice on.....

svenway_park 5 years ago

Don't spend too much time with susanneg, mom. This is the same idiot you have explained things to before. You know, the one who thinks ravens and foxes are indigenous in his backyard.

svenway_park 5 years ago

So, susanneg, Why don't you sue the Board once again with your idiotic legal theories so that the taxpayers can pay more which could actually be used for operations and education.

Maybe convince your neighbors once again for your need for your personal dog park in your back yard.

So why did you buy a house that backs on a school athletic field anyway.... no kids and all. Why should you be guaranteed a park in your back yard?

anon1958 5 years ago

The morons running the school system waste money on sports facilities at the same time they cut the bus routes. They need to focus on getting kids to and from school rather than wasting tax payer money entertaining parents with children's after school sporting events.

grammaddy 5 years ago

Agreed. Schools are for educating our youth. Sports should come secondary. But this is Lawrence and I remember the fight for a second high school. Everyone was more afraid of losing our glorious football history more than they worried about the high school kids getting a second school.

Shardwurm 5 years ago

"They need to focus on getting kids to and from school..."

I rather think getting kids to and from school is the parent's responsibility. If you live 1 mile from school and can't figure out a way to get your child there then you need serious help - not a tax subsidy.

Ralph Reed 5 years ago

I agree, good post anon, and excellent follow-up gram.

I still ask why the district didn't approach Haskel with the $$ to renovate Haskell Memorial stadium. A single field for both the High School and Free State, makes sense really. It would have cost much less and all three schools would have benefited. Oh, wait, they didn't do that because it would have benefited Haskell and the developers can't have that. (Sorry, I forgot - slaps forehead).

somebodynew 5 years ago

RalphReed- I am not saying my sources are completely accurate (althogh these tend to be on other matters), but I was told by several people that they DID approach Haskell with that plan, AND had the money to make it happen.

Different people blame different parties, but it was either the current (missing) president or the BIA that turned them down cold. Don't know why tho.

svenway_park 5 years ago

Susanneg: the problem with you is you lie about the numbers every time you can.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

One more time srj and anon - different pools of money are used for these. Take it up with the state if you'd like to transfer capital outlay funds to cover operating expenses.

Ralph - what are you gonna do when the BIA no longer grants you access to the property after you've dumped alot more money than what was paid for the two stadiums into Haskell Stadium? Retrofitting that place to bring it up to standards for handicapped individuals would cost quite a bit more than what was built - and still remains to be built.

I agree that a single complex for both schools would have been a better situation, but that horse was let out of the stable when Lawrence High didn't want to part with tradition 11 years ago when Free State was built.

Finally, there is as much or more money living south of the 15th street dividing line. Where are the LHS boosters/benefactors stepping up to the plate to take care of this inequity?

hail2oldku 5 years ago

Again, I would have been fine with a single centrally located complex, but the argument could be made that these stadiums did improve each individual campus. Therefor, the money was used for what it was earmarked - secondary school building (campus) improvements.

And no, I am not a member of the school board. I am smart enough to not put myself in that position. Those people can't win no matter what they do because in this town (as well as most others) someone will always have something to bitc# about when it comes to education and allocating our tax dollars.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

btw - welcome back Sven. I wonder how long Jonathan will let you hang around this time with this username.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years ago

Following Kansas' new three-year, 1 percent sales tax hike, such school spending news is like a second slap to the face. Now we know the types of projects our new taxes will be paying for.

traveller83 5 years ago

We wouldn't want to spend money on education instead

50YearResident 5 years ago

Why would any school build a stadium without toilets? I have never been able to sit through a whole football game without a toilet break! It doesn't make sense to me unless the idea was, build it and people with weak kidneys will put up the rest of the money needed for mandatory toilets.

headdoctor 5 years ago

Personally I think there should have been a little more thought put into the whole alleged anonymous donation thing and what could arise from it. If this was something the district intended to build anyway, then great that was just tax payer money that didn't get spent.

I have a problem with the mentality that all school buildings must be kept equal regardless of when the buildings were built. While this is adding to the school structures it is more like adding amenities instead of something that may be more practical. I didn't know school facilities were comparable to and handed out like equal portions of candy to avoid temper tantrums.

Tony Kisner 5 years ago

I thought the Ladies restrooms were the sole reason for the new stadiums.

Before they get started on these new accommodations a trip to Johnson County is needed. I hear that the Shawnee Missions schools have put in new marble counter tops in the restrooms. We can not live with less than what the Lancer's moms have. I know the Blue Valley schools have put in all new Viking ranges and Sub-zero stainless steel refrigerators in their refreshment stands, but I know that is asking for too much, right?

I am still not understanding the different bond funds, when the capital improvement bonds are floated does the issue include all future debt service payments? Or do those service payments come out of the general fund for the district?

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 5 years ago

Use the inmates at the county jail and any homeless that are using the shelter and I bet it could get done for half that amount...Besides we're paying for them anyway.

findaway 5 years ago

People, the thing you dont understand is that in past instances, if someone wanted to donate money or anything to LHS, the schoolboard would tell that donator that they would have to donate to both schools(it was probraby the same way on Freestates side). but Freestate got this massive donation and the school board let it go on. thats the inequality of the whole thing. Its like last year with the whole marching band uniform issue. The schoolboard was offering to upgrade FREESTATES band uniforms, even though LHS' were older and in worse condition. The only reason LHS did get the new uniforms was because Freestate band parents were kind enough to step up and say 'hey, our kids can wait a few more years, LHS needs the uniforms worse than we do'. And yes, I do know this first hand because I attend one of the schools.

overthemoon 5 years ago

agree. Large donations should be split between the schools as the quality of facilities and education at both schools affects the whole community. We were promised when Free State was proposed that it wouldn't be the 'rich' school. Ha. Check out the art room at LHS and the one at Free State.

Bridgett Wagner 5 years ago

Bus services have been cut. They had to scramble to save teachers from layoffs and schools from closing. This stadium situation is beyond ridiculous. Priorites are completely screwed.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t p-o-o-l-s o-f m-o-n-e-y. S-t-a-t-e l-a-w p-r-o-h-i-b-i-t-s m-i-n-g-l-i-n-g t-h-e f-u-n-d-s.

ralphralph 5 years ago

The "different pools" are by design, to provide a convenient, if lame, excuse for brainless spending behavior. It is a symptom of big government creeping in .... the further from home you move the decision-making, the less accountability you have to face. I have been following the South Lyon County district, where you see meetings that involve long discussions over cutting programs, reducing staff, closing classrooms, etc., followed by updates on the new concession stand and locker room building. Another nearby district orders the thermostats turned to uncomfortably cold temperatures during the past winter because they cannot heat the existing building, even as a massive expansion of the building continues.

Bring the decision-making home and take away the lame excuses.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

Yes and no.

The law has been that way for quite awhile. The locals are the people that vote on the bond issues providing for capital outlays so to that extent they do have a say in the matter. The reason I say yes and no though is because someone will complain that money voted on for capital improvements has been re-approriated for salaries, supplies, etc. just as soon as someone is able to get the law changed and the money is moved.

jafs 5 years ago

When I voted in favor of the capital improvement bond, I would never have thought it would be spent on athletic fields.

My understanding of capital improvement included things like repairs/maintenance on older buildings, energy efficiency improvements, etc.

I would never have voted in favor of a $2-3 million athletic field.

In the future, I will be much less likely to vote for school bonds.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

beat you to it TOB, I welcomed Sven 10.2 back at 10:00.

Jeff Cuttell 5 years ago

Maybe Freestate should pay LHS 1/2 of the money it cost for the restrooms, consessions, and press box. That way LHS could finally get this done. It's crazy that they weren't made to divide the money anyway. That was the way it was supposed to work when the city and board decided to build a second high school.

9070811 5 years ago

The anonymous donor offered to help LHS but they declined.

9070811 5 years ago

Circle of friends. LHS coordinators said they had it covered, so the ___ family backed off. Then the LHS project got behind, asked for help from the aforementioned ___ family but all the resources were already being used.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

The donor was willing to supply the labor if the district, or some other donor, would purchase the materials. This was turned down since the donor provided both for FSHS. Outside of knowing the donor and taking him at his word, I cannot provide any documentation.

KULHSLIONSfan 5 years ago

NOT TRUE, much more to the story. 9070811 is totally incorrect. Donor was offended by story in the paper and withdrew offer to provide facilities at LHS. Even more to the story, but not worth wasting time on here.

Ryan Wood 5 years ago

This town needs to get over the petty paranoia that the other high school has something microscopic that might be better than what they have.

I've lived in six different cities, and I have never seen such stupid bickering over crap like that.

mom_of_three 5 years ago

oh, rice....microscopic....hardly....but you can read the archives to get caught up on it all.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

It is my understanding that the money is there under the plan that got the stadiums built in the first place to get the locker room and restroom facilities, AND to provide proper restrooms and bleachers at the baseball fields. The reason that nothing has been done though is because the board wants to show at least some restraint in spending on capital projects while they have to cut staff and programs because the funding isn't available in the other pool to maintain the previous levels.

If this is the case, it is very unfortunate because the schools could both have quite nice facilities that would allow them to host KSHSAA and other activities that would provide user fees that I believe CAN be funneled back to operations. Either way, we end up with some very nice fields that the fans and families really can't enjoy because they aren't fully completed. I overheard one of the LHS coaches mention last week that he had volunteered to paint their dugouts, but he was informed the district wouldn't let him for a reason that I did not hear.

coolmom 5 years ago

usually that reason is that his painting would take away from someones job.

Clevercowgirl 5 years ago

Sadly, there doesen't seem to be anything to do but finish this thing. BUT, I think that the School Board and Administration need to adopt some guidelines for the future regarding donations. Like public disclosure of the donors name, business affiliations, etc. I'm not in a position to say what, if any improprieties have occured, but a lot of public suspicion is fostered by the way things were handled. I for sure think that the donor and the company doing the construction should not be affiliated. This does not pass the stink test.

budwhysir 5 years ago

Well, its a good thing we arent having budget problems and looking at closing schools or anything. Wonder how much money we would save closing down one of the football fields and sharing....

honestone 5 years ago

What a surprise! Can you imagine that we have let teachers go, cut programs and classes, threatened to close our neighborhood schools and now this self-centered board doesn't even have enough money to finish what they started. Are these the same people we will trust to lead the community task force to decide the fate of our schools future? The best thing to do right now is NOT spend any more money on the stadiums and the members of the board that stuck us with this "project" should resign. Then we can get back to EDUCATING our children. If anything is left over then we can think about the extras the sports program entails

Clevercowgirl 5 years ago

Nice thought Honstone, now, back to the reality of the situation.....

Clevercowgirl 5 years ago

Sorry to misspell your handle Honestone, no disrespect intended.

honestone 5 years ago

So tell me about this reality Is this a different reality from those that are losing their jobs? Is it a different reality from the increased class sizes? How about a different reality from the circus the board plans to show us with the community task force?

Let us have a dialog

make_a_difference 5 years ago

If I am remembering correctly, the donation at Free State began with the fact that the distance/location of the field from the school building is logistically difficult. In order to have time for the teams to go to the locker rooms during half-time, it was neccessary to extend the half-time by 1/2 an hour or more. And if anyone had a need to go to the locker rooms during the game, it was a problem because of the time it took due to the distance. It wasn't just a time thing...there were safety considerations. Which if one is to look at the two schools from an equity viewpoint, that situation wasn't equal to LHS. :-)

Personally I don't buy into the "exact equal situation" for the two schools any more than I did when it came to my kids...needs are sometimes different and require different attention. Fair, but different attention.

I don't favor either school..tho my kids attended Free State...I believe they are both outstanding schools and have much to offer. I do believe they each have their own distinct, individual personality...just like our elementary & junior highs. Not better or worse, just different. I see things almost daily that show how our all of our schools continue to help in creating outstanding young people.

CONGRATS TO OUR GRADUATING SENIORS!! And to the other students finishing another school year!

momfromlawrence 5 years ago

I agree with you. There is no reason why the schools have to be exactly equal. Are all the junior highs and elementary schools equal? My kids went/are students at Free State, but I went to LHS and so did the rest of my family. I don't have a problem with Free State's stadium being a little nicer than LHS. And from what I was told, the DONOR offered LHS the exact same services if they did one thing. LHS refused to do that one thing and so the DONOR decided they didn't deserve their money.

Since Free State is a newer building it will always be nicer than LHS. It is just a building. The staff is what makes the building better. Each school has wonderful staff and students. Congrats to the graduating class of 2010. Good luck to you all!

For those of you who are concerned about money, maybe you should take a look at what the district does for those who are less fortunate.

he_who_knows_all 5 years ago

When are bowling lanes going to be added? Each schools team now has to share lanes and get rides to the local bowling alley. It's just not fair. These lanes should have been added with all of the sports upgrades. I demand justice.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

The reality is you need to either read or understand the state law honestone.

Did people lose their jobs - yes, but the money from the stadiums wouldn't have saved those jobs.

Are class sizes being increased - yes, but because teachers had to be let go not because the stadiums were built.

The three ring community task force - again not caused by the stadiums being built.

The dialog you need to have is with your state legislators who aren't following the very funding program that they voted on for public education, and with the school administration that, imho, is quite top-heavy and could provide savings by consolidating some of those board office positions if you want to get some of those teachers back in the classroom and class sizes back to a more manageable student to teacher ration.

honestone 5 years ago

I completely understand the state law. My contention has always been that in these times of economic hardship shopuld we be building new stadiums while our schools have capital improvment issues too. NOW we have expensive stadiums that will need "new structure" maintenance as well as regular upkeep but no dollars to do that WHILE we are cutting teachers classes and education. The color of money will mean nothing to the people and programs that will be cut

bendover61 5 years ago

They could tear down the building at Freestate and save about $700,000.

SCOE 5 years ago

what diff does it make if the donor owns the construction company. its his money so it seems that he is just paying himself. if i was the donor and i was giving up the money i sure would want to have a say in who was doing the work. his guys need to be paid also so why not keep them busy.

Clevercowgirl 5 years ago


Let me guess. You are one of the guys that need to be paid.

hungryhustler 5 years ago

why not have LHS keep playing at thier beloved Haskell? What happend to all the "tradition" they are trying so desperately to hold on to??

findaway 5 years ago

Haskell raised the price to play on their field, LHS Cant afford it, besides if LHS Could afford it , we wouldn't have this problem now WOULD we.(because they'd either be playing at Haskell OR already have the stadium done)

motomom 5 years ago

i admit...i really don't like the whole "tit for that" mentality--BUT- there are NO bathrooms at the LHS fields. there is no place for the radio crew to sit in. no concession stands. muddy areas where grass or something is supposed to be. it looks and feels very unfinished. it is a lovely stadium that needs to be completed. plain and simple----FINISH THE JOB.

KawHawk 5 years ago

They need a PRESS BOX ? For what, the lone Journal-World sportswriter and the kid from the high school paper ? My, aren't WE being pretentious ! Why not build corporate skyboxes while we're at it ? Better yet, turn over management of the high school athletics programs to Big Lew !

mom_of_three 5 years ago

well, maybe if they had a press box, the radio announcer would be able to see the game.... although that was kind of funny last season when he couldn't see what happened....and told us he couldn't see the entire play.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Relax and have a popsicle, susan. It's a cool and fruity treat on a spring day.

mom_of_three 5 years ago

And don't forget the announcer for the games, (player # made a tackle...., etc.)

Ryan Wood 5 years ago

Generally, three assistant coaches for each team sit in a press box so they can have a bird's eye view of the game. Also, a PA announcer, a couple of spotters, and of course, the press.

But keep on spouting your misinformed opinions.

KULHSLIONSfan 5 years ago

stupidity, what kind of comment is this.

puddleglum 5 years ago

sky boxes and a Lew tower to block sven from looking over the fence and seeing the game

sbdad 5 years ago

Just finish what you started at LHS, who cares about FSHS and what they have. What looks bad is that LHS has taken 2 years to get to the point they are now, which is unfinished. Restrooms should have been done last year, at the very least. The place is nothing but a mud hole, of course the spring sports are done for the year. Lets see if they do what they did last year which was to forget about them till two days before first pitch. If they had a coach (SB) that cared and pushed the admin to get something done maybe it would be different.

KULHSLIONSfan 5 years ago

The LHS stadium is fantastic. Once the facilities are completed the entire campus for both schools will be something the majority (silent majority) will be proud of.

The negativity on here is unbelievable. Maybe some (such as old one eye) should consider running for one of the school board positions and show how intelligent he is by solving all the problems.

If all the bloggers are so disgusted with everything going on in Lawrence maybe you should go someplace you might have a chance at happiness. Although, I doubt all the negative bloggers for every single issue could be happy anywhere. What miserable lives some of you must lead.

Lawrence is a fantastic place to be with a great city commission, school board and newspaper. They are not always right, but who among you are. Well, I know some of you do.

irvan moore 5 years ago

When you drive past the football complex at LHS on 19th street you see the back of the scoreboard sticking up next to the street. Wouldn't it have looked nicer (and been more considerate to taxpayers) to have put it at the other end of the stadium so passers by could see the score instead of the eyesore? Notice on Louisiana street how it's the same way at the baseball fields and they have the fences covered so heaven forbid a taxpayer can't catch a quick look at a game.

hail2oldku 5 years ago

On the football field, that is where the scoreboard has always been located. It could have been relocated to the other end of the field, but that would have cost even more and someone would have griped about that.

On the baseball field, the scoreboard is in the proper location. If it was behind homeplate, the only place to put it and allow you to see it from Louisiana, the fans in the stands and anyone occupying the dugouts would not have a convenient view. Also, the fences aren't covered to keep you from watching the game. It is a fabric windscreen/hitting background that is placed on the fence. The alternative would be to put up a solid surface fence (wood, block, etc.) which also would cost more.

What are you doing looking at the game instead of paying attention to the road while driving down Louisisana anyway? If you are walking by, you can easily walk up the side and check out both the game and the scoreboard.

KULHSLIONSfan 5 years ago

I certainly don't worry about what oneeye thinks. Just amused as I tend to be with most of your ridiculous whining comments. Sooooo sad.

Lawrence is fortunate your opinions are not taken seriously.

The vast majority of us who spent a lot of time in the new facilities at both schools this year were very pleased. The facilities are unique and something the community as a whole will be proud of once they are completed.

BigAl 5 years ago

I agree with KULHSLIONSfan. I think both stadiums are great. They were long overdue. I also agree with KULHSLIONSfan that the negativity on here is unbelieveable. Lawrence IS a great place to live.

I tend to ignore most of the people that comment on here. I highly doubt if anything would make them happy. Life is too short for these people.

svenway_park 5 years ago

Welcome back Sven. Jonathan's been gone....but now he's back. Why don't you delete some of these posts so that he learns you are back on the boards.

Wayne Propst 5 years ago

these issues are outcomes of racist policy....could not make a deal with the Indians....what a lie...this all about selling Jo. Co. style houses to white people....aparithiad...WHITE TOWNSHIPS.....millions wasted on fear...... Cristians indeed....

svenway_park 5 years ago

A question for susanneg. How many hundreds of your posts did you make about zoning and land use planning regarding these improvements which were legally and factually just dead wrong.

Why didn't you pursue your frivolous lawsuit? Because you knew you were wrong and would lose. And your neighbors understood it too.

Why do you think you are so entitled to have a personal park in your backyard?

Why does every other architect in town refuse to give you any business?

Why don't you have an architecture degree?

Wayne Propst 5 years ago

these issues are outcomes of racist policy....could not make a deal with the Indians....what a lie...this all about selling Jo. Co. style houses to white people....aparithiad...WHITE TOWNSHIPS.....millions wasted on fear...... Cristians indeed....

jayhawklawrence 5 years ago

Having had several kids attend or attending LHS I can tell you they are all thrilled to have a new stadium.

Why are there so many complainers all the time when schools are the issue?

The kids are happy. Deal with it.

Someday someone will donate to LHS and hopefully there won't be a lot more red tape created to appease all these complainers.

jafs 5 years ago

I'd argue that sports are not the most important feature of educational institutions.

And that when I voted for a bond for "capital improvements", I didn't expect it to be used on athletic fields.

And when the city has a $1.6 million shortfall in the budget, this is not the time to spend money on unnecessary items.

I'd be glad to see the school districts spending money to retain teachers, improve classroom facilities, etc.

irvan moore 5 years ago

You are probably right that I should be looking at the road instead of the game, I think it's because I don't know how to text and would hate to be the only person in town paying attenion to my driving.

esteshawk 5 years ago

Big Government? Dude - it's a local school board, in a small city.

Robert Rauktis 5 years ago

"One more time srj and anon - different pools of money are used for these. Take it up with the state if you'd like to transfer capital outlay funds to cover operating expenses."

Took from different tax pool...and the same pocket, mine.

And the rest of you suckers.

halfpint 5 years ago

I'm curious about the money I keep hearing about that was borrowed for this project, and it's difficult to get much info about that. I wish the Journal-World would write an entire story just about that, because like me, I think there are many others out there who are just finding out that much of the $18 million (?) that paid for these new facilties was borrowed by the school district. I'm the first to admit that I just plain don't know how much of it was--I've heard anywhere from $8-15 million. And who did we borrow this money from, and at what kind of interest, over what period of time? If it is that large of a sum, it would be interesting to look back in the history books to see if USD497 has ever borrowed that much money before. I can't ever remember that much money being raised without a bond issue or a tax increase that was passed by voters. Like I said, I'm just really more curious than anything, because I'm the first to admit I'd need more facts to really understand what is going on. I'll leave the research and reporting to the experts but just say again that I would read further J-W articles about this particular aspect of the project with much interest!

workinghard 5 years ago

"The vast majority of us who spent a lot of time in the new facilities at both schools this year were very pleased. " Exactly, it benefited you. Your majority of users is the minority of the residents. The taxpayers are the majority, the users are the minority. Whose opinion do you think should be more important?

anon1958 5 years ago

"Shardwurm (anonymous) replies…

"They need to focus on getting kids to and from school..."

I rather think getting kids to and from school is the parent's responsibility. If you live 1 mile from school and can't figure out a way to get your child there then you need serious help - not a tax subsidy."

Get your facts straight worm, before you speak. I live on Harper street near 25th. My son attends South Junior High School. We are much farther than one mile and actually farther than the mandated distance but the school system uses some funny new math to exclude my son from being included on the bus route.

So Mr. worm, you think my son should walk down Haskell and across 31st street by the Baker wetlands and up Indiana to South? No side walks by the way. Or maybe he should go down 23rd street from Harper, also no continuous sidewalks on either side of the street. You sir should just stfu or get some facts first.

pace 5 years ago

what a waste of focus, money and energy. The bizarre bank commercial praising teachers for encouraging kids to go out for a team. We should put the money in general Phys ed, dump the elitist teams and the bank should thank the coaches for encouraging kids to take math. It is Bozo stupid to promote million dollar fields for restricted sports activity.

anon1958 5 years ago

jayhawklawrence (anonymous) says…

"Having had several kids attend or attending LHS I can tell you they are all thrilled to have a new stadium. "

Well my oldest son is a graduating LHS senior this year and he thinks the new sports facilities are a ridiculous waste of money. The school system here doesnt even offer drivers education during the regular school year which is just nuts. This crazy town did not want to build a second high school because of their precious football cult.

Seriously, the "Townies" in Lawrence are nuttier than the "Gownies".

workinghard 5 years ago

If your not a Townie or a Gownie what are you? What is it you think the Townies feel about the situation?

coolmom 5 years ago

many school across the country no longer do drivers training, this burdun has been moved to private businesses.

esteshawk 5 years ago

1) I wonder how many of the complainers have ever decided to run for the school board, or even bother to attend a meeting?

2) In 20 years, the cost will seem like a bargain.

3) Where's Shewman and his endless complaints about liberal media?

jafs 5 years ago

Why do you think the costs will seem like a "bargain" in 20 years, after we've also been spending quite a bit on upkeep/maintenance?

Don Whiteley 5 years ago

This is the true American way. We'll see every educational program our schools offer go down the toilet, but we'll not accept anything less than a $275,000 overrun on a facility that serves only the athletic elite of our city. How many teacher's salaries does $275,000 cover? Lets stop pretending. Lets get right down to the root of the problem and eliminate all classes at our schools so school boards can focus tax payer dollars where American's want them spent: on sports.

esteshawk 5 years ago

BarryP- In an uncertain world, it's good to know we can count on you and your narrowminded un-American views.

Poser? Please - he was duly elected - get over it. Criticize policies all you want, but calling our President such silly names, which have no merit to his abiliies, is indeed un-American, and juvenile to boot.

Clevercowgirl 5 years ago


I am curious too. Investigative journalism is something we don't see a lot of in the Journal-World. How about it, George? I'll bet it would boost your readership.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Worth repeating: • jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says… bronze- I've warned you privately, now I'll warn you publicly. You do not have bearded_gnome's name correct. If you don't immediately cease to attempt to out an anonymous user, your account will be banned. In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause. This is your final warning. Jonathan Kealing Online editor

––––– How has susanneg lasted this long Jonathan?

mom_of_three 5 years ago

even if they would have built a joint facility for the schools, they still would have to build practice facilities at LHS, and soccer fields (or whatever else) at Free State. LHS was travelling across town to practice while Free State was not, except for possibly soccer.
Facilities were needed, and the kids are enjoying them and will be enjoying them. Just need the finishing touches at LHS.

Terry Jacobsen 5 years ago

Personally I like the athletic complex at LHS. It looks nice and it's great to have practices within walking distance for the athletes. My complaint is with Fritzel. He gave the money to Free State to finish their stadium off, but refused to give money to his own Alma mater. I think everyone from LHS and it's graduates should boycott Mr. Fritzel's "Oread" hotel and if they need something built they should certainly refuse to do anything that is associated with him. What goes around should come around.

Kash_Encarri 5 years ago

Not true TJ. The family offered LHS the labor required to build a similar structure. The school simply needed to find a benefactor to pay for materials. That's a pretty generous offer by any measure. Why couldn't LHS find one of it's own boosters to come through with materials? Is there no pride in the Pride?

grimpeur 5 years ago

Gosh, you know what would have been "best for the city and its residents today and in the future," and what could have ensured a city-wide athletic facilty that served the schools' needs and the city's needs? An inclusive facility that made sure that USD497's huge expenditures addressed the very needs described in this column while satisfying the entirely-expected capitol improvement needs of the district. Not just football and soccer.

But, no. Seems there just wasn't time, patience, permission, or even the inclination to stop and think about this when we were plunking down the millions. Hey USD497, how's that tennis court lighting coming along, by the way?

Let's review:

In the shadow of the new athletic facilities that have been rushed into existence, this news is deplorable.

Let's hope the school board members responsible for the events of the last five years at least get their names on a plaque on the new stadium.


September 28, 2004 The bond likely will include money to improve the junior high schools and the science labs at Lawrence High School, and likely will be about $40 million.

Several board members said athletic needs were important but didn't seem to be as big of a priority as educational needs at this time.

"It's not that athletic facilities are bad -- they're good," said board member Rich Minder. "I just don't see a football field making us more efficient."

October 10, 2004 While ideas and opinions have been tossed around for a new bond referendum, details of what will be included haven't been nailed down. But it has been said the bond issue could be from $40 million to $45 million.

October 18, 2004 Based on the current $53.6 million proposed bond plan, about $3.6 million would be spent at LHS to renovate science rooms, locker rooms and add a new entrance onto the gym. Of the $3.6 million, about $810,000 would go toward renovating science rooms.

February, 10, 2005 The group presented information prepared by the school district that estimates the $63 million in improvements would increase the district's property tax rate by 2.25 mills from 46.72 mills to 48.97 mills.

Not one of these stories, nor any others between Sept. 04 and March 05, states the need for athletic field improvements. Not one. In fact, indications are to the contrary, as Minder notes above.

Wow, who could have predicted then that we'd rush ahead with expenditures on sports fields instead of funding our children's educational needs and caring for their schools? Somebody got their athletic fields. But the citizenship of the district is at an all-time low. Bad planning, bad priorities, bad deal for all of us.

headdoctor 5 years ago

And again Barry, the question to you and others with like thoughts. What is this free market you keep running at the mouth about? A free market isn't anymore realistic than being able to understand your gibberish posts.

Why is it that it is always PADS sucking up money? I assume that means Liberals. Last time I checked the Right has sopped up a lot of money as well. So, I have to think that in your twisted mind it is perfectly fine for Republicans to redistribute wealth, take away personal rights,or demand that people live according to their plan, but, the Democrats can not. I would like to know what is up with that because the end result is very similar.

headdoctor 5 years ago

You must be channeling "Junior Samples". I wouldn't be caught dead at a Tea Bagger rally and the news is as close to Sarah Palin as I care to be. I wouldn't want a bad case of stupid to rub off.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Be careful. Mr Bradford believes USD 497 should be active in promoting the growth of Lawrence,kansas which is a sound chamber of commerce position.

Wrong again. USD 497 should ONLY be concerned with USD public school revenue mamagement NOT keeping with the Joneses in JOCO and Topeka.

This athletic project had no means by which to pay for itself in the first place. Which is ONE more reason this whole fiasco should have been placed before the voters.

Every major USD 497 expenditure should require mandatory approval by USD 497 taxpayers.

No more money should be spent without taxpayer approval. The economy began falling apart in 2007! Why did the board approve this massive PLAY project in the first place? Are they NOT paying attention?

It's just more "Boom Town Economics" thinking that which is a very dangerous economic theory!

"Sanburn said the board should have waited to approve the project until it had bids for adding a press box at Lawrence High.

She said the district is in a tough position but she’s also worried about the higher costs because several elementary buildings need repairs."

The only person quoted with her head on straight and THINKING!

motomom 5 years ago

this project simply needs to be finished. that's it. story is over. finish it!

KU_Dude 5 years ago

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says…

bronze- I've warned you privately, now I'll warn you publicly. You do not have bearded_gnome's name correct. If you don't immediately cease to attempt to out an anonymous user, your account will be banned. In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause. This is your final warning. Jonathan Kealing Online editor

––––– How has susanneg lasted this long Jonathan?

aka: Bronze, Coltrane, Spiderman, Cool...and many other forgetable names.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Relax and have a popsicle, susan. It's a cool and fruity treat on a spring day.

mom_of_three 5 years ago

Well, I don't think its ugly. the metal bleachers were ugly.

maybeso 5 years ago

This whole issue makes me want to SCREAM! I am so tired of hearing "it's a different pot of money". Our kids' education - in the form of good teachers and librarians, good programs, good paraeducators - is being dismantled bit by bit, and we are building $15 million in football stadiums?!?!

KU_Dude 5 years ago


Is it ok for susanneg aka bronze, spiderman, cool, coltrane and others to send me email links like the following:


The user susanneg sent the following message to you via


Flap Doodle 5 years ago

susanneg got disappeareded? Couldn't have happened to a nice guy.

BruceWayne 5 years ago

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

TopJayhawk 5 years ago

Political correctness run amuk. Only in Larrytown. Too funny. Now if LHS gets an arch, you are going to have to provide one to Free state.
What we have here is a restroom gap. Reminds me of DR Strangelove. About as absurd too.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.