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Archive for Sunday, September 12, 2010

School board to consider wellness project

September 12, 2010

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Plans for an outdoor “wellness” campus will be up for discussion Monday night by members of the Lawrence school board.

School board considering wellness campus

The area would include a gym and a lake, and could cost as much as $25 million. Enlarge video

The concept plan for a wellness campus at the southeastern edge of Lawrence, as envisioned by Outside for a Better Inside.

The concept plan for a wellness campus at the southeastern edge of Lawrence, as envisioned by Outside for a Better Inside.

The proposal, backed by the Outside for a Better Inside organization, calls for a gymnasium, wellness center, handicap-accessible ballfield and lake surrounded by walking trails on portions of 115 acres of undeveloped property at the southeastern edge of Lawrence.

Organizer John McGrew has said the initial phase would establish the project’s pond and walking trails, work he estimated would cost about $200,000 — money that would be sought from private donors and the federal government. The entire project could cost $25 million, possibly from sources such as Bill Self’s Assists Foundation or Michelle Obama’s work to combat childhood obesity.

“We’re not asking (local governments) for any money,” McGrew said earlier this summer.

The property would be located on public land: portions of 40 acres long held by the city, most of it intended for future park development, plus some of an adjacent 75 acres acquired last year by the Lawrence school district for $1.7 million.

The district bought the 75 acres so it could be held in reserve for future needs, such as a possible school or schools. District officials have acknowledged that “community interests” could be considered as potential options for the site.

The two sites are northeast of East 1700 and North 1300 roads, just southwest of where the Kansas Department of Transportation intends to one day build an interchange to connect the existing Kansas Highway 10 with an as-yet-unbuilt eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Scheduled to discuss the plan during Monday’s board meeting are McGrew, who is former chairman of McGrew Real Estate; Phil Struble, president of Landplan Engineering; and Hank Booth, director of government and community affairs for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the district’s service center, 110 McDonald Drive.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• Accept a donation of 40 computers and other equipment from Vangent Inc., which no longer needs the items now that it has completed work on the federal Census. The computers, laser printers and other related equipment would be used in district classrooms.

• Review and consider giving preliminary approval to a list of the board’s goals for the coming academic year. Among them: “Prepare for future discussion of school boundaries and transfer policies.” The list of goals would then be back up for formal approval Sept. 27.

• Accept a donation of $6,000 from the Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation. The money would go toward the purchase of an estimated $11,000 automatic timing system for cross country and track and field competitions in secondary schools. The balance of the money would come from “existing funds” — some of which came from previous fundraising efforts — at Lawrence and Free State high schools, said Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operating officer.

Comments

Flap Doodle 3 years, 7 months ago

Tell us about how the Reagan era is still affecting education, merrill. Don't you have links to some information about that?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

Supporting expansion of the bedroom community represents local big government reckless spending and reckless USD 497 spending!

Instead let's have developers pay impact fees to cover the costs of new schools, law enforcement,fire stations,bogus wellness centers and infrastructure maintenance.

WE Taxpayers MUST also require property-tax impact studies on new developments paid for by developers.

Local BIG GOVERNMENT Taxes subsidize millions of dollars worth of new roads, new water and sewer lines, new schools and increased police and fire protection at the expense of the needs of the core communities. This leads to higher taxes.

The Good News.....Runaway growth is not inevitable -- we can have cleaner air and water, more choices in transportation modes and places to live, and better-protected parks, farms and open spaces. Hundreds of urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods are using smart-growth solutions to address the problems caused by sprawl. Examples of smart-growth solutions include:

* Making significantly greater investments in clean public transportation, including modern commuter trains and clean buses.
* Planning pedestrian-friendly developments where people have transportation choices, such as trains and bus service; providing good walking and bicycling facilities around shopping and parks; and implementing traffic calming measures.
* Promoting regional and statewide planning that combines the transportation, land-use and environmental planning efforts.
* Building more affordable housing close to transit and jobs.
* Supporting greater public involvement in the transportation and land-use planning processes.
* Funding innovative, incentive based programs for encouraging alternative transportation use, such as tax credits for public transit, walking or biking, and parking cash out and parking fees.
* Requiring developers to pay impact fees to cover the costs of new roads, schools, water and sewer lines, and requiring property-tax impact studies on new developments.

Smart growth not only improves air and water quality and protects open space, but it also redirects investments to our existing towns and cities. See how smart growth solutions can revitalize sprawling communities.

Smart Growth represents fiscal responsibility.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 7 months ago

You can hear most anything these days....

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

There is $16.5 million in elementary school building maintenance on the table that could have been accomplished with the $20 million athletic fiasco funding. That cost 4 years later might well be $20 million for the repairs = not fiscally responsible thinking.

The athletic expenditure was not put to the voters because a BOE majority feared taxpayers would say no. So they bypassed the voters because they could..... so it was said to me.

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somedude20 3 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the school board could get sponsors like Wendy's or BK or Pizza Hut to help pay for this. BK could setup a little burger stand up out there and maybe Microsoft could donate some game systems so our darling little children would be motivated to use the place so that the wellness center would not be a waste of money.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 7 months ago

Leave us all go skip around under the trees.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

Wellness and competitive athletics are hardly synonymous. Competitive athletics is high impact stress on the body.

Competitive athletics can be very destructive on the human body. We're talking life time knee injuries,ankle damage,possible heart damage,broken bones and all sorts of joint damage.

How is a brain concussion and Wellness synonymous?

We're getting duped by the word Wellness. Once upon a time we got duped by the phrase New Urbanism. I am suggesting there are people who like to use terms out of context to pull the wool over the eyes of taxpayers.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

Park department property and USD 497 property are big buck taxpayer properties. The answer should be ABSOLUTELY NOT!

$23,000 per acre for unimproved land is a bit reckless I'd say. USD 497 bailed a local speculator how thoughtful.

Who will use this? With all due respect a climate controlled building/campus is not necessary and very expensive.

John McGrew, who is former chairman of McGrew Real Estate; Phil Struble, president of Landplan Engineering; and Hank Booth, director of government and community affairs for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. All three are very big on taxpayer funding their extravagant projects with OUR local big government tax dollars. I've watched them many times.

Subsidize the real estate industry is the objective. Why shouldn't the industry go to the bank,borrow the money and build it on THEIR property.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

This one persons perception that I received this AM:

"regarding the school land purchase----and now we see the true reason! A wellness center, supposedly, built by OTHER funds, but you can bet youre last dollar that McGrew sees dollar signs too! who will maintain this "state of the ark" facility????? Yeah probably the poor old taxpayers. And if this goes thru he will then have access to city sewers, water etc. to build on his land which is right next door. How convenient!

All this after the schools fiasco of building the athletic fields, for which at least LHS they are NOT finished, and one wonders if the school ever intends to! They are cheap,cheap!!!! when doing work, but spend like water! They all need to go including all the top administrators in 497!"

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 7 months ago

And how much does McGrew anticipate the "local government" will need to run this campus?

What's wrong with the students hauling their lazy backsides to school by walking and pulling away from the taco bar at school or the potato chips?

From the looks of the fat students going to the high school, if they just stopped eating so much and maybe their parents too, Lawrence wouldn't need to repave so many streets. The fat in this town along with the empTy buses and their weight and the KU buses with all the weight they carry trample down the asphalt.

So exactly where is the land at? And is it "floodplain"?

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toe 3 years, 7 months ago

Anything that will tax Lawrence more will always be approved. If you do not work for a government entity, you are not welcome here.

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Mike Myers 3 years, 7 months ago

This is what happens when real estate salesmen and civil engineers do in a down economy when they get short on projects and sales. Boy wont this be good for the "community". Ultimately what this will do is reinforce the doughnut effect of suburban growth and neglect of our older neighborhoods. Go peddle your little boxes somewhere else.

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sweetiepie 3 years, 7 months ago

I must be really confused about this plan. Right now, children in elementary school are being allowed fewer and fewer opportunities for exercise during the school day, and the response by the school district is not to spend money to make sure kids get more physical activity, but instead, to pour money into a big project that isn't even easily accessible to school children or to most of the people in Lawrence. It seems that the district believes the best plan is to let the children get overweight and out of shape while they are still in grade school and then hope that they show up to use this wellness center as adults. Because the only way they will be able to use it as children is if their parents drive them there. How would this be serving the children in Lawrence? (And I did think that was the role of the school district, after all.)

How much would it cost right now to take available money from various foundations and add a half hour of structured physical activity daily for all the school children? Wouldn't doing something that will make a difference for all the children on a daily basis make more sense than this big project that will only benefit some children, someday?

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jayhawk83 3 years, 7 months ago

More bedrooms on the table? I doubt it. The residential permits pulled have fallen from about 350 per year in 2004/5 to just over 100 last year and likely the same this year. Not many new bedrooms in those numbers.

While the proposed facility could be a wonderful benefit to the entire Lawrence community, it will not by itself attract additional permits. You are right. Jobs, of all types, are the only thing that will successfully and sustainably grow Lawrence.

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macon47 3 years, 7 months ago

we dont have money for teachers we dont have money for kids meals or buses, or anything except administrators and coordinaltors salaries

they used to make us fat kids run around the school building a few times why cant they still do that, it would save some money??

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rlsd 3 years, 7 months ago

All of the above are so true, sounds nice until you figure out we low paid bedroom community workers will and have paid for this !!!

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Benjamin Roberts 3 years, 7 months ago

Doing anything - other than flat out opposing this idea, at this time - will show a total disdain for the patrons of USD 497. The district should not consider spending one dime at this point that is not in direct support of academics. There are far too many deferred capital maintenance projects to even discuss new construction.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

City owned property and USD 497 owned property are the same as local tax dollars. This whole matter should be approved by taxpayers across the board.

USD 497 BOE should seek approval from USD 497 taxpayers before giving away property to local developers. This land cost more than $23,000 per acre.

"The property would be located on public land: portions of 40 acres long held by the city, most of it intended for future park development, plus some of an adjacent 75 acres acquired last year by the Lawrence school district for $1.7 million. ( More than $23,000 per acre)

The district bought the 75 acres so it could be held in reserve for future needs, such as a possible school or schools. District officials have acknowledged that “community interests” could be considered as potential options for the site."

Who will be responsible for maintenance? City taxpayers = city tax dollars.

How many more maintenance tax dollars can taxpayers absorb?

Face it folks there is a lot of new construction underway in that area with more bedrooms on the table. This is more about making residential sales more attractive in a high tax dollar bedroom community.

Lawrence,Kansas truly cannot afford more bedrooms. Jobs have never been a strong point in Lawrence and that has not changed. Without jobs for people that live in Lawrence new housing in Lawrence is still a tax dollar money hole.

USD 497 BOE should seek approval from USD 497 taxpayers. I cannot understand how the USD 497 BOE thinks more than $23,000 an acre was fiscally responsible. Considering it was rural land maybe $5,000 per acre would have been fiscally responsible.

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