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LUHS Board of Education approves $1.08 million in outdoor complex work


Lakeland Union High School will get a new outdoor locker room facility in addition to new stadium lighting, following the school board’s unanimous approval Monday, Jan. 23rd. But the board held off on other improvements to the outdoor sports complex pending a possible professional fundraising campaign.

The board chose the least expensive of five construction options that have been debated the past several months. The board is most concerned about the impact on the school’s fund balance – a reserve cash account that has fallen in recent years – if they tap it too much for this project. The board used it interior renovations, including to the auditorium last year. The district uses fund balance to cover payroll and other bills during months of low cash flow. There are potentially other draw downs in the future, including a possible pilot school, curriculum improvements and parking lot resurfacing.

The approved work includes $700,000 for new locker rooms, $250,000 for stadium lighting, $36,000 for demolition, nearly $75,000 for construction and design services and $24,000 for a contingency fund for unanticipated work. The total project cost of $1.08 million will be covered by $950,000 that the board will levy through Act 32 legislation, which allows a district to collect taxes for energy efficient projects without taking the matter to referendum. The remaining amount of $133,655 will be covered using the fund balance. The board took a pass on option 2, which would have included $700,000 for synthetic turf, $142,000 to move field events (e.g. shot put, pole vault), and $50,000 for storm water work. Adding in $46,000 for contingency purposes and slightly more than $92,000 for construction and design services would bring the total to $2.01 million.

Director of Business Services Greg Kopp said in addition to the Act 32 funds of $950,000, the district would have to use $567,000 of fund balance and count on $500,000 in private donations to pay for option 2. A citizen has reportedly offered to donate $500,000 for that synthetic turf installation, with the possibility of other donations to cover the entire cost. Having synthetic turf would mean that soccer could join football in using that field, according to District Administrator/Principal Jim Bouche. The board approved a related motion that calls for development of a “fundraising campaign to complete outdoor complex renovations through option 5.” It allows for the possible hiring of a professional fundraising firm to conduct it. The motion calls for the board within one year to review other options, “which include a one-time referendum to fund any shortfall” for the construction of additional work.

The third component of that motion is to consider installing synthetic turf for the fall athletic season if the district receives a written commitment to cover its cost.

In the other major action that night, the board agreed to sign a contract with Kollege Town Athletics to supply LUHS athletic teams and co-curricular groups with Under Armour footwear and apparel at a 35 percent discount off retail pricing. Other discounts would apply for uniforms. The district will receive cash and merchandize incentives whenever sales goals are met. Kopp said the previous language that called for a five-year contract was changed to make it renewable after one year and three years, with no penalties for either party for cancelling it. He clarified that individual coaches would be allowed to select another company to supply items to their teams.

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