Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2006

Board considers growth

March 23, 2006

The USD 491 Board of Education will tackle potential growth during a special meeting at 8 a.m. Saturday in the district office, 1002 Elm St.

During the meeting, the board will hear from a company that specializes in projecting growth, discuss hiring an architect for the master plan and discuss the future of Laws Field in regard to the city's proposed recreation center.

"One of the things I've talked briefly about to some of you is getting a better grip on where we're at in regard to our growth," Superintendent Marty Kobza said during the board's March 9 meeting.

In order to quantify the growth, Kobza decided to bring in RSP Consultants to discuss growth projections.

"There's a variety of services out there," Kobza said.

The work from RSP goes beyond growth projection to site planning and transportation patterns, Kobza said.

But Kobza told the board the main purpose of the meeting is "to give you some hard factual data as to what is happening."

Kobza said the firm has worked with the Blue Valley and Gardner school districts.

In Gardner, the firm achieved 99.8 percent accuracy, Kobza said.

"I think that would be a very valuable tool," board member Mark Chrislip said.

The next discussion topic will be the district's long-term plan and work to preplan for an upcoming 2008 bond issue.

Specifically, the board will discuss whether or not it needs an architect to help with the planning process.

"As far as preplanning is concerned, we talked about a program manager, a construction manager, pre-bond services provided by an architect or hiring someone on our staff to do that," Kobza said. "I think the consensus we came to was that looking at an architect to help us put something together might be our best option."

The final meeting topic will put the future of Laws Field and the city's planned recreation facility in front of the board members.

At the March 13 meeting, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty presented concept drawings of the $3.5 million project to the board.

Although the board seemed mostly positive about the idea, it decided to talk about the implications of the facility before returning to the city with its decision.

"It's going to be an interesting discussion," Kobza said. "I don't know how in-depth it will go other than the board needs to establish some sort of direction for the city."

The board voted to set a time limit of four hours for the meeting.

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