Baldwin board approves contract to upgrade football fields
The Baldwin school board on Tuesday approved a contract with MDH Turf to upgrade two non-varsity football fields on the Baldwin High School/Baldwin Junior High School campus.
MDH will improve the north field used for junior high school games and BHS freshman and junior varsity teams and the one to the south used for practice. Both fields are also used by various Baldwin City Recreation Commission leagues. Irrigation systems will be installed in both fields and get new, safer goalposts with a curved supports set back six foot from the endzone. The north practice field will also graded to install a crown and, with the approval of an alternate bid from the board, have matted turf installed on the playing surface.
The landscape designer of the project, Vance Rzepka of VSR Design in Overland Park, recommended the installation of the matted, rolled turf in place of seeding, saying it had a better chance of being ready for the stress of the football season. MDH, which is installing the Kansas City Chiefs’ new pre-season field at Missouri Western University, bid $12,500 on the option, but Rzepka said company representatives indicated that was a placeholder bid and could be done cheaper.
Board members agreed the rolled turf was the best option with less than three months for the turf to get established before the season starts. The cost, however, did exceed the $70,000 the district set aside for the project after the board agreed last fall to make the improvements. District director of financial operation Cynde Frick said she was comfortable with going with the option district activities director Gary Stevanus favored because of cost savings from other projects and the rescheduling of others for next year.
Although she didn’t have concerns with the project, Sandy Chapman said her fellow board members should be aware the project could affect funding for other capital projects in the coming years.
District facilities director Charles James presented the board a list of projects needed in the future. The big ticket item on the list was the $1.8 million replacement of the high school’s 20-year-old air conditioning/heating system.
Although the district could replace parts of the system for less than that total, that approach was problematic and not cheap. Board members agreed the better approach would be to replace the system approaching the end of its useful life. Chapman said that replacement needed to be scheduled, perhaps when some of the district’s bond debt fell off, and asked the a complete list of district systems and their ages be shared with the board so it could plan for their replacement.
Frick said the board would receive a proposed five-year capital improvement list in June for consideration, which would include other projects for years further out.
In other business, the board:
Agreed to lease RG Fiber 12 strands of the 24 strands of fiber line it has intra-district for $1,500 a year for five years. The district currently uses two of the 24 strands of the aerial system. Dorathy said legally the agreement is similar to the district leasing gym time during non-school hours.
RG Fiber CEO Mike Bosch said the district’s fiber would be used to as part of the distribution system in the gigabit fiber service the company was bringing to Baldwin City. The lease gave the company time to develop its own buried distribution system in the city, he said.
The $1,500 annual lease payment was based on research the city of Lawrence did on the value of fiber systems, Bosch said. Dorathy further explained the district was not allowed to make a profit on its facilities, although RG Fiber expected to do so.
Approved the 2016-2017 calendar at the request of district constituents wanting to plan ahead. That school year will start Aug. 17, 2016.