Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2005

What’s in community’s future with facilites?

November 17, 2005

It was an eye-brow raising meeting for the Baldwin School Board Monday night. And, it didn't have much to do with the recently completed telephone survey conducted by an independent consultant that resulted in mostly glowing reviews for the district.

No, it was a personnel item and the continued discussion of a possible bond issue to fund new facilities for the district that turned heads.

James White, superintendent of schools for the past six years, announced his retirement, effective June 30, and the board accepted it. We'd been hearing about possible changes in the administration for awhile and this was the first to surface. We wish White well.

But, the real jaw dropper involved the bond issue talk. In the past, the board has discussed various needs, most notably an auditorium, which was in the original plans for the new high school, but was axed because of costs.

In the latest bond discussion, however, the need for a football stadium with a track was broached. Interesting.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Baldwin High School and Baldwin Junior High School teams have called Baker University's Liston Stadium home. The storied stadium is scheduled for a nearly $2 million upgrade in the final phase of improvements to the Charlie Richard Sports Complex. Those upgrades include synthetic turf for the football field and a new eight-lane track.

Of course, construction on the project is beginning and there won't be a track to use for Baker, BHS or BJHS at Liston this spring. That has caused a scramble, but it has also obviously spurred thinking.

Is it time that the Baldwin district has its own football and track facilities? We, much like the board, aren't sure. Let's think this through.

That's the same place where we're at with a possible community center type building which could be a joint effort between the city, school district and the university. The idea there is to avoid each of the entities building facilities individually at higher costs to both the university and the taxpayers. Does the same logic play into the thoughts of a new stadium?

There's no doubt it would be wonderful for the school district to have its own stadium. There's also no doubt it would be wonderful to win the lottery. A close look is needed into costs associated with the lease arrangement between the district and the university and how that might play into a new facility for the district.

There are lots of questions regarding where the Baldwin community is headed in the future. Discussions among community leaders are underway and will continue. Let's keep it that way and let's make our feelings known on what we do and do not want for Baldwin.

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