|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - May 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
LISD OKs repairs, upgrades at LJH track, football stadium
Polk County Enterprise - May 2009
LIVINGSTON — Trustees for Livingston Independent School District green-lighted three projects for the athletic department during the board’s rescheduled meeting Thursday. The football scoreboard at Livingston’s football stadium was destroyed by Hurricane Ike Sept. 14, 2008. School offi cials estimated damage claims fi led with the district’s insurance carrier and FEMA have resulted in about $30,000 in loss payments. The scoreboard damage was part of a claim that included other damage, so the exact amount paid for the scoreboard alone isn’t known. Athletic Director Randy Rowe told trustees he has looked at several proposals from Buy Board vendors and determined Fairplay of Woodville would offer the district the “best bang for their buck.” Buy Board vendors meet bidding requirements at the state level, rather than bidding on local jobs one at a time.
The company has done scoreboards for Reliant Stadium, Port Neches-Groves I.S.D. and many other school districts across the state. The scoreboard proposal includes a 4-foot by 8-foot video message board that can be used to recoup some of the cost for the board. The total scoreboard cost is about $72,000. Lufkin Coca Cola has donated $30,000 toward the cost of the board. That donation added to the insurance payment leaves a net cost of about $12,000. The proposal was approved 7- 0. Trustees then heard a proposal for a scoreboard-mounted sound system, which Rowe said has been “totally inadequate.”
The sound system was redone three years ago, but after Hurricane Ike technicians found the sound board full of water. Trustees approved the $28,518 proposal from Southwest 6 to 1 with Ben Ogletree III voting against. Previous projects the company has done for LISD include the sound system at Livingston Junior High (LJH) and alarm systems. Rowe presented a proposal to resurface the track at LJH at a cost of $161,200. “Folks, it’s a safety issue,” Rowe said. “It was bad when I got here fi ve years ago.” He added that in some areas he can lift the curb lining the track up to his knee. The track has been previously patched with a tarry caulk substance, but Rowe described that repair as “putting a Band- Aid on a gunshot wound.” The proposed resurfacing project will last eight years, offi cials said.
During the meeting Thursday, Rowe said all-weather tracks must be resurfaced every fi ve years, but after Ogletree and other trustees expressed their shock at a $3,000 a month expense to maintain the track further research showed it would have an eight-year life. “Track can be the heart and soul of our athletic program, Rowe said. “Everything you do in athletics involves running.” “I hope some day my athletes can leave their science class and go right to their sports. I think it’s a great investment.” At that point trustees were discussing the proposal with each other and Superintendent Dr. Darrell Myers. “Listen to me good, please. There is the potential for damaged asphalt and it could run into more money. We have to do it for safety. That’s why I put it in the budget,” Rowe said.
“Where does this money come from?” Board President Bea Ellis asked Rowe. “I asked for it,” Rowe said. “In next year’s budget?” Ellis said. “We need to do it tonight,” Rowe said. “So it’s not in the budget?” Ellis said. “No,” Rowe said. Myers then said the ongoing water damage could cause the total destruction of the track. Staff has already started work on the budget that will go before the board for approval this summer he added. “I can just about tell you this is going to be a fund balance expense,” Myers said. “You’re going to have to do it. It’s just a question of this year or next year.”
The proposal was approved 7- 0. Myers said other maintenance projects the board had anticipated funding out of next year’s budget may be eligible for stimulus funds. Myers said he and Deputy Superintendent Diane Kelm will attend a meeting to help districts identify what “pots of money” are available for Title I, special education and general school projects. During administrative reports to the board, principals at all LISD campuses say attendance is up due to the district’s focus on enforcing attendance requirements this year. Trustees approved adding a technician position to the technology department to maintain the growing number of computers on all campuses.
The department has not added a staff member in eight years. The position will be funded with energy cost savings. LISD plans to participate in a pilot laptop program which will help determine what type of operating system and hardware to use in future laptop programs. Trustees also agreed to extend the contract with the present drug testing provider. Although, the program ran into trouble earlier in the year. Procedural issues have been corrected.