Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2010

School board holds off on naming facility policy

Legendary Baldwin High School football coach Merle Venable will have the sports complex around the high school named after him. The Baldwin School Board approved the motion at its Aug. 9 meeting.

Legendary Baldwin High School football coach Merle Venable will have the sports complex around the high school named after him. The Baldwin School Board approved the motion at its Aug. 9 meeting.

March 11, 2010

Scott Lauridsen’s idea to honor his former Baldwin High School football coach may have hit a snag within the Baldwin School Board.

In January, Lauridsen mentioned the idea of naming the sports complex north and west of BHS after longtime coach Merle Venable. The school board discussed the idea in February but tabled the topic until a policy was created for naming facilities in the district.

On Monday night, Supt. Paul Dorathy said he gathered information from area districts’ policies and created one for Baldwin. After reviewing the policy, Board Member Ruth Barkley said she received several e-mails about other people that should be honored since the last meeting. She wasn’t sure the newly-created policy was strict enough for the board to reject patrons’ suggestions.

“We’ve got to very specific,” Barkley said. “I’m afraid of the can of worms we may be opening with this policy.”

Lauriden responded, saying he hopes this idea hasn’t become something that will burden the district or have any negative effects.

“We can’t be afraid of the positives, because of the negatives,” he said. “It’s going to be subjective, but it will be done by a committee of people that everyone trusts. If we’re looking for the same criteria so that a different group of people would vote the same way, we’re doomed from the start. I hate operating out of the mode where we are afraid to do something positive because of impact of the negatives. You don’t move forward that way, because there will always be a negative in everything you want to do.”

The board continued to discuss what else might be named after someone, including school buildings, classrooms or even lockers. In the end, the board asked Dorathy to make the policy more specific with criteria.

“I want to make sure we’re all trying to shoot for the same thing and sure what we’re trying to do is achievable,” Lauridsen said. “Everything I’ve heard from this discussion is achievable. I’m not trying to rush this through the board.”


averagejoe 8 years, 2 months ago

Consider the fact that it is possible a silent majority of residents could be against this proposal (regardless of the namee). No one knows for sure at this time. No one has asked.

Where does the naming stop? How about the hundreds of teachers and coaches who provided stellar learning and coaching for the past 100 years in Baldwin. Let’s name the tennis courts, the basketball court, the drama and debating classrooms. Do we let the class of 1942, 1933, or 1995 name buildings for their favorite, trophy winning coach? What class of 1987 member knows of the superior teacher or coach loved by the class of 1942? Why is Coach X from 1995 any more deserving than Coach Y from 1942?

No disrespect is intended to Mr. Venable what-so-ever. This comment is not about him personally. This comment is solely regarding the process, the public appeal or community benefit of this proposal. I like Merle.

Mr. Venable, however, is not the only BHS coach to win a state sports championship. There were many from the past 100 years. More than 10 coachs, including cross country, basketball, wrestling and tennis before, after, and during Mr. Venable's tenure.

I find it ironic that at the past board meeting Board Member Ruth Barkley was most concerned about how to REJECT suggested nominees from the graduates and community. This attitude isn't about inclusion and genuine recognition, it's about favoritism, community division and a small group selecting their own favored coaches or teachers. In fairness, perhaps Ms. Barkley might rethink and clarify her comment.

A better approach is for the School Board, Mr. Lauridsen and his small group to privately raise $10,000 and ask the School Board to allocate a small area of space at a sports-related location on school property and have a monument built to highlight and reward ALL deserving and championship coaches.

It's not the responsibility for all Baldwin City taxpayers to pay for naming sports fields that a small, overzealous group decides is their dream coach from their own glory days of high school.

You get unbiased,non-agenda representatives from all BHS graduating classes or eras and make your coach selections or criteria representing the total scope of 100 years of high school experiences.

The school district can then agree to maintain the monument after it has been privately funded and installed and it highlights all of our high school coach experiences in all sports.

More than 50% of Baldwin City's population did not even live in town during Mr. Venable's tenure. They don't even know him or the other previous coaches.

Put up a privately funded monument to all BHS championship coaches or stellar teachers and let people learn about ALL of these people who we should all be proud and appreciative of.


Torch 8 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree here.

There are way too many agendas and rice bowls in this little slice of paradise to name facilities after individuals.

Mike Spielman has won more Championships in Cross Country than probably all other coaches of all sports combined.

A private monument is a great idea and I would donate for that in a heartbeat.


kermit 8 years, 2 months ago

joe, You make an excellent and well reasoned argument. I tend to agree with you and Torch. A private monument should be the way to go if this is something the community feels is necessary. Why does anything in the district needed to be named for anyone or anything? What's wrong with Baldwin High School Sports Complex? I think we avoid many potential problems by staying away from this idea. Case in point: Remember what happened at the University of Missouri a few years ago.


bulldog 8 years, 2 months ago

The first name on the monument should be Ted Zuzzio.


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