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Lannan opposes new tennis courts at Linton-Stockton schools

Monday, October 1, 2012

New tennis courts aren't likely to be built now as part of the new three-stage improvements to Linton-Stockton Schools.

In a 4-1 vote to move forward with the bond issuance, Joe Lannan, president of the Linton-Stockton Building Corporation, fervently opposed installing the courts.

Indiana law requires that a building corporation be established to lease new property and expansions from the school corporation to move forward with projects. School trustees had previously established the school building corporation for other projects, including the construction of the new high school and other improvements.

Thus, the existing lease agreements between the school and the board were modified, with trustees agreeing to the extension in their own separate hearing an hour later.

Planned changes include sweeping improvements to the school's roofing and heating and cooling, pavement repair and a two-stage expansion to the middle school, said William E. Payne, executive director of Fanning and Howey architectural firm July 16.

Each stage of the project will be financed through a trio of $2 million bond issues, 2012-A, 2012-B and 2013, so designated for the years of issuance.

Lannan and other board members agreed the improvements to the middle school are necessary to address crowding caused by the shift of sixth graders from the elementary to the middle school.

"Most people are for taking care of the building. I don't think you'll have any problems with that," Lannan said, and the expansion makes up for classrooms lost when the high school project ran short on funding.

"We're getting the eight classrooms we were supposed to have before" when the new high school was constructed, said board member Jim Jackson.

Presently, the school has 1,370 students, down from 1,385 last year. The elementary school had a larger than expected student body at 708. The middle school, composed of sixth through eighth grades, has 330, while the high school has 332.

"If you go over there (to the middle school) it is packed right now," Superintendent Nick Karazsia said. "This is needed."

Bob Bradford moved to accept the proposed agreements, with Bill Powell seconding the motion. Jackson and Tom Pafford joined them.

Lannan opposed it, suggesting the school trustees remove the tennis courts from the equation. Projected costs for the new courts ran $350,000 for a five court facility, and $420,000 for six courts.

"I have a problem with that," Lannan said. "I'm not going for this with the tennis courts included."

Lannan asked whether trustees would voluntarily remove courts from the equation.

With only some of the trustees present. Karazsia said he couldn't speak for them.

However, Karazsia said school trustees were aware not all of the proposed improvements might get done.

"That's not a top priority at the moment," the superintendent said, adding tennis courts would be installed only if funds remained from other, more necessary work. "Education of our students is the top priority, always."

The school's tennis team presently plays in Humphreys Park, Karazsia said, adding his children are part of the squad. The city's informed the school no new improvements are expected to the city's three existing courts.

Karazsia added that due to the small number of courts, home tennis matches often take longer to complete than they would had students travelled to away matches.

Lannan held firm in his opposition to the new tennis courts, suggesting the athletic field improvements are simply too much for financially-strapped taxpayers to bear.

"There are mortgage foreclosures every day in the newspaper, and I think the taxpayers have got

everything they can shoulder on them at the moment," he explained.

"I know I'm not really here to represent the taxpayers. The school board appointed me, and they can take me off this board anytime they want," Lannan said. "But I can't sit here as a taxpayer and go along with that when I think we've got people here who are struggling to pay their bills."

Lannan added he felt so strongly about the matter that

"If I have to resign, or if you want to replace me, that's fine," he said.

That, however, wasn't necessary.

He explained that projected costs to upgrade the elementary roof, a key aspect of the improvements, have quadrupled.

Initially, those costs were slated at between $300,000 and $400,000 -- "And honestly, we thought those were a little low when we got them," the superintendent said. Revisions to those estimates by the architect increased the projected costs to $600,000 of the $2 million.

Now, review by John Dewar, who assisted the school corporation with previous roofing projects, has suggested even that number could double to $1.2 million.

"John's kind of a bulldog as far as making sure things get done the right way," Karazsia explained. "If he's pretty true to form on cost estimates, we may not be able to do everything we wanted to do."

That may mean the elementary school doesn't see all four stages of planned improvements to the HVAC system at once.

"We may have to build this in stages, installing one or two rather than all four areas, and then add more on later," Karazsia said.

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How disappointing but not surprising! How much was the football field improvements again???? Sounds to me like the school needs to get some more estimates on all of the projects. I didn't realize the plan was to build Wimbledon.

-- Posted by eagletree on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 11:06 PM

This is very disappointing. I'm inclined to believe that if this was anything other than tennis courts, opposition would not be as strong. The tennis team has already gone to pot because of the lack of decent facilities. It's gotten so bad that some teams won't even come to Linton anymore. It's also sad when Linton players would rather play road matches because they're done quicker elsewhere and home before a home match would even be over. If they're going to do it right, 5 courts would be the perfect number. That way everyone can play at once. There's no reason that Linton shouldn't have facilities such as those as nearby schools (North Daviess, WRV). If you're going to offer a tennis program to your students, provide them with adequate facilities to play on. It's just flat out disappointing.

-- Posted by cinderhill on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 11:17 PM

How much would the tennis courts cost the taxpayers? If the courts can't be built, I believe that the school corporation should assist the city in making necessary improvements to the city courts if the courts are near unplayable....which they are.

-- Posted by THE END on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 7:32 AM

WRV has 4 courts. And I applaud Joe for sticking to his heartfelt opinion . It's not easy saying "no" because it is just not in the budget . Makes me wonder what they spend every year on the football team and field improvements though . Linton has always put football first , always will . WRV would welcome any tennis players :) !

-- Posted by Orion's Belt on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 8:26 AM

As a former tennis player at LHS, I'm very disappointed in this ridiculous vote by Lannan. As lhsstudents said, we would rather play away games than home games because even when we had to travel, we would get home sooner because with only three courts at Linton, we'd play all night. We all knew to take our homework and try to do it at the courts, because we wouldn't get home until after 9, when matches started at 4! ... Not to mention the fact that as an adult, I can't go play tennis when I want, most of the time, because the CITY courts are being used by the tennis team. I have to drive to Jasonville to play, instead. Sadly, I won't encourage my children to play tennis when they get to high school, if there are no new courts.

How much are you spending on a school van/bus to take students to tennis matches that are away? How much do the parents pay to drive to away matches? ...Quite a bit. Having tennis matches in Linton brings in revenue too, at fast food places, etc.

If this were any other sport, I don't think it would be an issue - but sure, let's continue to help the tennis teams fail at LHS.

Sorry tennis players.

-- Posted by Me2 on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 8:43 AM

Make it a football field need and Lannon would be all for it. Just say'in

-- Posted by homesweethome on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 10:15 AM

Joe Lannan I want to THANK YOU for taking a stand and watching the expenditures of the Tax Payer's money! Great Job! Maybe you should run for an elected office!! I believe that we need to focus on the Academic parts of the school corporation before we spend one cent on any athletic upgrade. All sports are called "Extra Curricular" activities for a reason. Sports should never be the main focus of any schools expenditures. The education system in America has suffered when compared to the education systems of the world due to the misdirection of priorities. It is time that we return to the basics of education and focus our money on making our students the best and the brightest that the world has to offer. We need to ensure that they have the supplies and facilities to reach that goal, prior to spending money on the Extra Curricular activities.

-- Posted by MBM on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 10:18 AM

If there is a need for tennis courts then the tennis teams should start doing some fundraising. Clearly they won't get them this year or next, but just like at home, if you want something you have to save, budget, and get creative to get it. Tennis is not a sport that creates revenue, football is, that is the difference.

-- Posted by wowza on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 10:49 AM

Wowza, I think your comment is unfair, perhaps tennis would bring more revenue if they weren't running other teams and local players off by having crappy facilities. When was the last time the football team had to raise the money themselves to build a football field?..try never...and to MBM I agree that we should focus more on academics, but lets be real for a moment shall we? Lannon would not have been so fiscally responible if the vote were over football facilities.

-- Posted by lintonite on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 12:19 PM

Just my 2 cents..........Linton its football, Shakamak its Baseball. You do the math and both sports bring in more money than all others combined. Every time these schools go to sectional, regional and so on they get generate money. I'm not saying let tennis go down the tubes, but figure out how much money its generating before you drop $400,000. Once again that is just my 2 Cents...

-- Posted by daddy_doug on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 12:59 PM

To be clear, I don't have anything against tennis. I have been to a few tennis matches at local schools and there was no admission fee, this is why I say that tennis doesn't generate revenue. As far as what the football team, basketball teams, baseball/softball teams, or volleyball team use their fundraiser money for, I have no idea, but I do know that I have seen them selling items, having carwashes, and participating in other fundraising activities. I would love to see the girls sports getting more attention as well, but the bottom line is, football is where the revenue is. I would guess that you could combine the gate fees for all the rest of the sports and still not equal what any given Friday night home game brings in. Rather than crying foul and bashing football, why not put that energy into finding alternative ways to either repair or replace the current tennis facilities.

-- Posted by wowza on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 2:20 PM


-- Posted by Zinkos on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 2:34 PM

How exactly do you propose the team raise enough money to build their own courts? And why should they have to? Name any other team that has to build their own facility to play on. Did the football team have to build their field; the baseball and softball teams their diamonds; the volleyball team the gym? I don't think so. I understand tennis is not a revenue sport, but that shouldn't put them at such a disadvantage.

-- Posted by cinderhill on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 11:08 PM

Get Bart Berns a part of the tennis program and he will show you how to raise some money for a program. Look what he did for the baseball field and their facilities!

lhsstudents - those kids actually DO have fundraisers to get the stuff they want...do you think that beautiful baseball diamond and football field were built in one day with one pot of money?

If everyone complaining has so much money they should be starting a fund to build some tennis courts! Thanks Joe for looking out for the good of the people and getting done the important stuff done first! Some people don't get how hard it is to stay afloat for the MAJORITY of the people!

-- Posted by MJ7 on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 10:33 AM

I totally support the school having tennis courts on campus but not at that amount. I do think the school needs to get more estimates on their own. Surely they can get another estimate that is more reasonable. Don't leave it up to some outide entity to do the dealing for you.

-- Posted by eagletree on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 3:18 PM

Shame on Joe Lannan! I know for a fact he would be all for football improvements. I know for a fact that he does not like tennis

-- Posted by Minerman on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 8:11 PM

Oh yes, shame on him! Heaven forbid the school has much more important improvements at this time! The tennis courts have been in the schools "plans" for as long as I can remember.

The gov't continues to make cuts to public schools making it harder each year to provide an education, let alone additions to sport facilities.

Don't be so quick to point fingers at those trying to make the best decision. It is impossible to please everyone! More of the community is in favor of nice facilities for other sports...that might seem like a shock to some, but thats life!

-- Posted by MJ7 on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 3:45 PM

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