The Lawrence school district still needs to buy a bunch of bleachers for its athletics fields at Free State and Lawrence high schools.
Oh, and the new LHS baseball field finally will get shields to help prevent diamond-illuminating light from spilling onto Louisiana Street and into nearby homes.
Such is the latest game plan for moving forward on more than $15 million in upgrades to the district’s athletics venues, now more than two years after construction began.
“We’re thrilled to hear that the reflector hoods will be placed on the baseball lights,” said Jeanne Klein, a leader of the Centennial Neighborhood Association, which has taken the district to court over issues related to expansions of athletics fields in the neighborhood. “The glare is astounding.”
The neighborhood continues to keep close tabs on the district’s progress at LHS and the former open area south and west of Centennial, now the Lawrence Virtual School.
“There’s a lot of unfinished work,” Klein said. “Lots of unfinished work.”
Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer, said that as recently as June the district had 144 items on its list of things to do to complete planned athletics upgrades.
Now the list is down to 15.
“We are still at or below budget,” Harwood said.
Bleachers represent the next phase of capital investment.
The district needs to install 500-seat bleachers for soccer and 300-seat bleachers for baseball, both at Lawrence High. Estimated cost is $60,000 for aluminum bleachers.
Last year, the district entertained the possibility of installing more permanent bleachers — using the same materials and style as those at the football stadiums at both high schools — for baseball and soccer at Lawrence High. That plan would have cost $478,000.
Nobody is sure yet what form bleachers will take at the two sites, but board members plan to discuss options in November. More seating also is needed for baseball and soccer at Free State, Harwood said, and board members will see an outline for addressing all seating needs at both schools.
“Come up with a plan, so we know where we’re headed,” said Bob Byers, a board member.