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School board in lockdown as stadium updates presented

School board in lockdown as stadium updates presented

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EAGLE – Part way through the regularly scheduled District 145 Board of Education meeting at Eagle Elementary on Oct. 5, Superintendent Cory Worrell was informed that the meeting was on lockdown due to a possible armed standoff on Highway 34.

A suspect was allegedly brandishing a weapon near the used car dealership on Third Street and Highway 34. 

After the unprecedented interruption and movement into the school’s music room, the board was able to move on with the meeting by hearing a presentation from Senior Associate Scott Gatewood and Education Facility Planner and Project Manager Pat Phelan of DLR Group on the proposed stadium updates for Waverly High School. 

Gatewood and Phelan showed the estimated $2.5 million-plus proposed updates involving a new track and turf field as well as lights and storage building. There was also talk of renovating the press box but there currently is no estimate for the cost of that. 

The project will break ground in spring 2021. The proposed track and turf field is much wider and shorter compared to the current field. Gatewood and Phelan said that the reason for this was so that the turf field could also work as a soccer field. The track would have a broader curve which Phelan said runners prefer. 

Because the field would have a different shape, Phelan and Gatewood explained that the lights would be removed and new lights would be installed ultimately costing $445,000. 

“$445,000 for lights seems like a lot for lights that already work,” Worrell said. 

Board Member Scott Claycomb also felt that the storage shed cost of $128,000 was a lot. Phelan said that these numbers had a little bit of padding a safety net and that it will probably actually cost about $120,000. 

Board Member Cheryl Landon said she felt that these renovations were important to students and would make their students proud. She also said that the stadium needs to be on the same level as schools around Waverly. 

“If you want to have something that’s comparable to schools around us, you don’t want to have a Babette when you wanted a Barbie,” Landon said.

Gatewood said that if the board wanted to potentially get bids out by January and break ground by April, a decision needed to be made by the next board meeting on Nov. 2, but the sooner the better. 

Worrell said that the board was trying to learn more information about the project before they can make any decisions. 

The board also heard a presentation from County Commissioner Rick Vest about rerouting the truck traffic on Amberly Road to Fletcher Road. In order to do that, the project would involve paving Fletcher Road. 

The project would be through Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) which acts as the planning body for the metropolitan planning area of Lancaster County. The county has received funds for the 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) which Vest wants to use for Fletcher Road. 

Vest requested that the school board write a letter of support backing the project so that, “Waverly can be united on this,” he said. 

Worrell also announced that Nov. 3 would be a day off for all schools in the district because Eagle Elementary and Waverly Intermediate School are both polling locations. The closure will not only keep students safe from potential COVID-19 exposure, but also provide a much needed teacher workday, the superintendent said. 

“Safer needs to be the path that we take,” Worrell said. 

In other action, the board approved a number of items including finalizing the district’s property tax request and tax levy for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The board approved an asking of $22,175,125 including

$18,925,995 for the general fund and the rest for several different funds or bonds such as Bond Fund 2016 A for K-8, Bond Fund 2016 B for Ninth-12th, Bond Fund 2020, Bond Fund 2016 D, Special Building Fund, Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund 2012 and Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund 2013. 

At about 9:15, Worrell was informed that the board and those in attendance of the meeting could exit the elementary school and head home via North First Street in Eagle. 

The next board meeting is Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. and will likely be at Waverly High School library, Worrell said.

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