Get job done right this time [UPDATED]Published 10:35am Thursday, November 21, 2013 Updated 12:35pm Thursday, November 21, 2013
The school board re-started talks about replacing the football field’s stands again Monday, and it’s about time. This will be the third time in recent years that the School Board has put together a plan to fix the bleacher problem.
This time it needs to get done — and get done right.
Previous plans to fix or replace the stands have been bundled with other major outdoor facility changes and voters have resoundingly defeated those proposals, presumably because they did not like the idea of tacking other projects onto the desperately needed bleacher repairs. This time around, the board is considering a pared-down plan which adds only an upgraded track to the project.
Bumping the track from six to eight lanes would tack on an additional $675,000 to the project, estimated at just under $2.1 million without the track upgrade.
The school board seems ready to move forward with focus groups and community meetings to gain a better understanding of what residents think about the project. The plan that is ultimately put together should balance the needs of the school and wants of the community. If those in the school district think an upgraded track is worth the big price tag, the eight-lane track should be included in the project; however, if residents in the district don’t think the track upgrade is necessary, the School Board should be prepared to cut down the project to its necessities.
The bleachers now are not safe for spectators, and dragging portable bleachers onto the track is not a long-term solution. The situation at the field this fall was an embarrassment. Something needs to be done. The School Board hopes to have a final proposal put together by Jan. 13 for a March 11 referendum. That plan needs to be based on getting urgent bleacher repairs or replacements done and not on an expanded wish list unless there’s good reason to think that voters support those wishes. Then it will be up to the voters to do their part, which is to approve a plan to get the bleachers fixed or replaced.