Home Elected Officials LSB: Requesting $1 Million from City for Athletic Fields; Revised Enrollment

LSB: Requesting $1 Million from City for Athletic Fields; Revised Enrollment

LSB Board Aug. 14 and Dr. Horrell.

The Lakeland School Board (LSB) tonight (8.14.17) unanimously approved a motion to ask the City to contribute $1 million for LMPS (Lakeland Middle Preparatory School) Athletic Fields.

The Lakeland School System (LSS) realized a savings of $3.5 million upon completion this summer of the new middle school.  At their work session last week, members discussed using the funds (which much be used for LMPS capital projects) to complete athletic fields behind the school.

The City is in the midst of planning athletic facilities on City-owned property at Memphis-Arlington and Canada Roads.  However, the School Board would like to share the LMPS facilities with the City and community.  Kevin Floyd, chair of LSB, said this partnership could be most effective for the City, perhaps negating the need for a City park.  “This is an opportunity to work together to save money,” said Mr. Floyd.  “We (the School Board) have always operated under the assumption we would share facilities if we could,” said Mr. Floyd.

As outlined by Doug Burris, senior vice president/partner at Renaissance Group, the cost for the project would be $4,361,511 which exceeds the available $3.5 million by $861,511.   This is not an official bid, but “ball park numbers, said Dr. Ted Horrell, LSS superintendent, and probably is on the high end.”

Dr. Horrell suggested LSB could request $1 million from the $2.4 million the City has in a “set aside” fund for school projects.  (See attached graphic for cost breakdown.) LSB Vice Chair Laura Harrison said this City money was earmarked in 2012 according to a vote to increase Lakeland’s sales tax.

The development would include lighted and irrigated baseball, softball, football and soccer fields as well as an unlighted but irrigated practice field.  Also developed would be restrooms, a concession area, a press box, bleachers, a driveway to access the fields, additional parking for 85 to 100 cars and a storage building.

Dr. Horrell listed seven advantages to completing the project now (See graphic).

Mr. Burris estimated the project could be started this year and allowing for bad weather in January and February, ready to go in June 2018. “This is relatively easy work to do,” he said.  “We could start right away and it would go very quickly.”

Depending on the decision of the City to contribute money to the fields, Dr. Horrell said the School Board could have a special called meeting to authorize a contract with Renaissance Group for architectural and engineering services for the athletic fields.

LSB member Teresa Henry questioned the idea of using the “set aside” City money to complete the fields.  She suggested the plan could be scaled down to fit within the $3.5 million money. She stated there might be a need in the near future to expand Lakeland Elementary School and it would be good to have funds available.

Mr. Floyd said the discussion about LES was worth having, “But it feels premature to me to think of the funds in that way.  We haven’t researched the answer (on LES expansion).  I think we should ask the City and the City will decide what to do.”

There was also mention that instead of using the “set aside” funds, the City might instead use money earmarked for Parks and Recreation expansion to help fund the LMPS fields.  Mrs. Henry was in favor of that idea.

In his report to the Board, Dr. Horrell said the LSS has 1,579 students: 875 at LES and 703 at LMPS.  He checked with Tammy Mason, superintendent for Arlington Community Schools, and she reported 55 Lakeland students at Arlington Middle School (AMS) and 33 Lakeland students at Donelson Elementary School.  (Lakeland students attended those two schools outside of the City until this year when the new middle school opened.)

Member Geoff Hicks asked about the enrollment at Arlington Middle School this year. Dr. Horrell said it is in the 900s.

Dr. Horrell reported lockers have been delivered to LMPS and are being installed, with locker assignments next Monday Extra Chromebooks were ordered and there is excitement at both schools about watching the solar Eclipse Aug. 19 with special glasses for all.  He said Matt Adler, LMPS principal, believes three additional teachers will cover the additional students who registered in the last week. There has been a consistently late bus from North Lakeland but Dr. Horrell believes there will be a new bus assigned to that route.

Mrs. Harrison announced the first LMPS volleyball game is tomorrow (8.15.17) against AMS and the first football game is Aug. 17 at Fayette Academy.

Link to photo album:


… Photos by Jim Willis, Lakeland Currents.