Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

School board eyes capital outlay possibilities

August 4, 2005

Several items from a capital outlay proposal received much attention at the school board meeting Thursday night were replacing vehicles, the ball fields and a possible track addition.

Supt. James White presented the board with a list of possible ways to spend the capital outlay money. This list brought discussion about various subjects, the first of which was transportation vehicles.

White's list suggested purchasing two Chevrolet Suburbans at $33,000 each, an economically sized car for $12,500 and a 65-passenger bus for $53,000.

White admitted his numbers on the list may be off a little, but he knows the district's vehicles are depleting.

"Our fleet is in terrible shape," White said. "I'm suggesting we purchase two suburbans, because they are good for transporting groups of students. Our staffs like them and they work well."

Board Member Ruth Barkley wondered if it might be better to look at cheaper vehicles with better gas mileage than Suburbans.

"With the price of fuel, would it be more cost-efficient to buy two vans for $30,000?" Barkley asked.

Board Member Scott Lauridsen asked about a transportation plan, so the vehicles would be on a schedule to be replaced.

White said Tuesday the district had a plan to replace school buses, but not the other vehicles.

"We've had a plan for buses in the past, where we wanted to rotate our buses out and add a new one each year," White said. "We haven't had a plan for our family vehicles, because we haven't set what we consider a cut-off point on mileage or dollars of repairs."

But White also said his idea is just a starter to get the vehicles replaced.

"I'm suggesting this is a modest proposal to get us started," White said. "Many of our vehicles are in excess of 100,000 miles. This is definitely a modest proposal."

After deciding to discuss the vehicles at a later date, the board then began talking about the ball fields. White's list said the district would pay $50,000 this year for its portion of the work, since it is working with the city council and Baldwin City Recreation Commission on this project.

???? White said the original cost for the fields may be less than the actual cost.

"We met with the city folks and the recreation commission to discuss what the cost of the four fields would be," White said. "I then talked to the architect and he said that would not be enough. It may even be twice as much as proposed."

The fields were originally proposed to cost $400,000.

Lauridsen said the city council and BCRC wanted to know if the school board was going along with the plan very soon. The board decided to push the discussion back until Monday's meeting.

But the talk about the ball fields also sparked discussion about the idea of an auditorium at Baldwin High School.

Barkley said she is not sure the public would support the bond issue for the auditorium if the board jumped the gun on the bond issue.

"The public perception is negative from what I have heard," Barkley said. "I have heard from seven people that expressed disgust about doing this before we build an auditorium."

During the discussion, questions and ideas were thrown out about building a civic center with the city and Baker University. Board Member Ande Parks said Baker might go along with them.

"I gather talking to people that if was a civic center, Baker might have an interest," Parks said.

Another item on White's list was repair or replace the public address system in the Baldwin Junior High School gym.

"We've got to do something with the public address system in that gymnasium," White said. "When people come in there for graduation or basketball games, when there is an announcement made over the public address system, people can't understand and hear it."

At the end of the discussion, Lauridsen said the city also wanted the board to talk about a possible sidewalk and the School Resource Officer.

The sidewalk would start at Firetree Estates and end in front of BJHS. It would cross Douglas County Road 1055, run south to Quayle Street and then run east to connect with another sidewalk.

The board decided to discuss the sidewalk and SRO in greater detail at the next meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. Monday at BHS.

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