School system, county team up on sports complex

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Columbia County school and government officials on Wednesday announced plans to build an athletics complex, including a new stadium, near Lakeside High School.

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Columbia County schools Superintendent Charles Nagle talks about the joint venture between the county and the school system to build a new sports complex, estimated at $12 million, on land near Lakeside High School.   Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Columbia County schools Superintendent Charles Nagle talks about the joint venture between the county and the school system to build a new sports complex, estimated at $12 million, on land near Lakeside High School.

Schools Superintendent Charles Nagle said the county finalized last week the purchase of about 70 acres of undeveloped property behind Lakeside's baseball field. He estimated the project's cost to be as much as $12 million, with funding coming from the school board's and county's 1 percent sales tax. That estimate includes the $1.6 million to buy the land from Reed Creek LLC.

At a news conference in the school's auditorium, Nagle stressed that the county and the school system will share full use of all amenities.

County Commissioner Ron Thigpen, whose District 1 will hold the project, said the park will connect to 22 acres of county-owned green space. Darren Prickett, a landscape architect with project designer Johnson, Laschober and Associates P.C., said the new park will include features that expand on those at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans.

Prickett said the cost of the first phase, which includes site work and infrastructure, will be shared. The school board will pay 56 percent, nearly $4 million, while the county will pay the rest, about $2.5 million.

The final portion of the two-phase project might get under way in 2014 or 2015, Prickett said. It will include building the fields and paving parking areas.

Commission Chairman Ron Cross said the project will meet the county's goal of bringing a recreation facility to District 1.

Applause rang out from when Nagle mentioned another benefit of the project: an additional entrance to Lakeside high and middle schools. The two schools now have just one entrance off Blue Ridge Drive. The new entrance will connect the schools to Evans to Locks Road via King Taylor Road.

Nagle said relocating some of the schools' athletics facilities would provide room for more parking and potential additions to Lakeside High.

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burninater
9943
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burninater 03/30/11 - 12:26 pm
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I went to public school, so

I went to public school, so help me out here. If you build a new road and a new stadium, traffic flow will be smoother in and out of the school. I'm pretty sure that if you don't build the stadium, you will acheive the same traffic flow result. So why is traffic congestion being supported as a pretext for a new stadium and/or a larger than necessary land purchase?

Oh that reminds me, I was intending to look up "bamboozled" in the dictionary today, now where did I put that ...

IsAmericaFree
47
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IsAmericaFree 03/30/11 - 12:32 pm
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The one big thing that

The one big thing that bothers me about this project: I don't remember seeing it on the list of capital expenditures the CCBOE planned on over the next few years. They had a list of the improvements by year of the schools they were going to build/update but I don't recall a new stadium being on it.

IsAmericaFree
47
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IsAmericaFree 03/30/11 - 12:39 pm
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Same reason the stadium is

Same reason the stadium is overshadowing the park. You can't please everyone all of the time.

I believe it's more of the way the county and BOE went about this. Doesn't pass the smell test for most.

OhWell
326
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OhWell 03/30/11 - 12:40 pm
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CoolerPooler, did Lakeside

CoolerPooler, did Lakeside not have English teachers to teach you capitalization skills. It appears to me to much money is being spent on a stadium when there are issues that are much more important. Sports is a wonderful part of education and many lessons can be learned on the field and in the gym about life. Teachers are being furloughed and positions are not being filled. Lets take care of that first.

coolerpooler
0
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coolerpooler 03/30/11 - 12:44 pm
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Isamericafree go look at the

Isamericafree go look at the stadiums of columbia county then lakesides look at how they are laksides misses a track and field parts sufficient away seating and concessions they are way behind yet lakeside has the most sports out of all the schools so most used stadium missing what less used stadiums have. And also all schools in the area have more ways to get in and out comparitively per school lakesida high and middle and blueridge elementary have to share on a one lane road it sucks

coolerpooler
0
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coolerpooler 03/30/11 - 12:48 pm
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Ohwell let me ask you this

Ohwell let me ask you this did you or any of your kids go to lakeside high or middle or blue ridge? Or are you just saying this because where you went traffic wasn't bad nore did the sports matter. And about cappitalization I would rather get my point accross than worry about cappitalization

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/30/11 - 12:56 pm
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isAmericafree "They had a

isAmericafree "They had a list of the improvements by year of the schools they were going to build/update but I don't recall a new stadium being on it." "I believe it's more of the way the county and BOE went about this. Doesn't pass the smell test for most."

Bingo! Exactly right! That plus the money is a huge issue.

coolerpooler. This issue is exactly what is wrong with America today. Everyone thinks they "deserve" the best, the most advanced, the newest things. They feel they are entitled.

When I was younger my high school was a disaster. The stadium was a joke. But we still won football games & I still got a good education. When I played rec ball I played on a field that today's kids wouldn't even dare practice on. The stands were falling apart. But we still had fun. No one complained. We survived and lived to look back fondly on our youth.

It's not always about the biggest & the best. It's about what is feasible & financially responsible. It's about what works. And I believe that Lakeside's football program works (when they are playing ethically).

This secretive county project is simply too much in such a fragile economy. Heck, I guess we can always increase the Lakeside class sizes to 60 kids to pay for it. Fire half the teachers so they can have their new stadium. Priorities. Priorities.

coolerpooler
0
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coolerpooler 03/30/11 - 01:03 pm
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Chillen your right they are

Chillen your right they are righting in a clause that says fire 5 teachers per acre bought good vision. And oh with all the sports they have at lakeside it becomes a danger in how small the stadium. Heck the track team practices on a track that's been condemed for 10 years I've seen people get hurt because of it. And when you were young the quality of living was much lower and you could bring guns to school and they had half the sports and students.

dreamcatcher_ga
15
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dreamcatcher_ga 03/30/11 - 01:09 pm
0
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with these plans all this

with these plans all this should back up right on top of the subdivision behind the school

Just My Opinion
6301
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Just My Opinion 03/30/11 - 01:21 pm
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Okay, let me get all this

Okay, let me get all this straight....the CCBOE wants a new stadium for Lakeside AND they're listening to all the complaints from all the parents who drive to pick up their children from school (rather than them taking the bus)...there's some land adjacent to the school property, and after a secret deal was made, 70 acres was bought without any of the Columbia County citizens (including all those CCBOE employess laid off and furloughed) knowing anything about it...since the CCBOE couldn't afford the whole thing, they enlisted the help of Ron Cross and he had to make the announcement palatable to the public, they dressed and prettied the deal up by claiming that this acquisition was going to serve BOTH Lakeside AND the dear and needy citizens of Columbia County who are screaming for yet more walking trails! Am I right? burninator had it right when he mentioned that this huge land purchase was not necessary if the main desired result was for another access road. Face it folks, this issue has just been shoved down our throats. Ron Cross, Ron Thigpen, and Mike Sleeper are behind all this and I'm certain are the ones who are going to directly benefit from it.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/30/11 - 01:34 pm
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just my opinion. Excellent

just my opinion. Excellent analysis. You got it almost 100%.

You just left out the soccer fields this new park will house. The new Blanchard stadium & fields weren't enough for the soccer "explosion". We need MORE!

I wonder who owns this said 70 acres? I can't wait to find out.

Batman
18
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Batman 03/30/11 - 01:39 pm
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Who owns Reed Creek, LLC? Is

Who owns Reed Creek, LLC? Is it a newly formed corporation for the purpose of this transaction? I do not see that exact name listed on the Georgia Secretary of State website. Link here: http://tinyurl.com/4bsq7rl

csrareader
1288
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csrareader 03/30/11 - 01:46 pm
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0
"Schools Superintendent

"Schools Superintendent Charles Nagle said the county finalized last week the purchase of about 70 acres of undeveloped property behind Lakeside’s baseball field. He estimated the total cost of the project to be as much as $12 million, with funding coming from the school board’s and county’s 1-percent sales tax."

That $12 million would cover a lot of EDUCATIONAL needs. This is EXACTLY why I never vote for those local option sales taxes. It only gives the County conspirators a slush fund to spend at their whim.

Mr. Thackeray
957
Points
Mr. Thackeray 03/30/11 - 02:06 pm
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0
WASTE of my TAX dollars!!!

WASTE of my TAX dollars!!! CCBOE & the Commission are nuts!!! Ron's boys at work again!!!

allrise
79
Points
allrise 03/30/11 - 02:18 pm
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0
Columbia County plays

Columbia County plays football?????

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/30/11 - 02:33 pm
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This land has already been

This land has already been purchased. This is a done deal.

There is a lot more to this story than meets the eye.

1. Done without any mention whatsoever to the public

2. Done despite the fact that teachers are being laid off & furloughed, middle school spanish was dropped, some middle school sports are in jeopardy, etc.

3. This Reed LLC. Yes, I'd love to know who owns this. I looked online and there is NOTHING (intentionally)

4. Who owns the 70 acres? Who benefits from this (other than the obvious Lakeside parents)

This is scandalous. Ron Cross, the commissioners & the school board are in it up to their eyeballs this time.

RoadkiII
6807
Points
RoadkiII 03/30/11 - 02:42 pm
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Posts just seem to have more

Posts just seem to have more meaning when proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation are used.

My daughters went to Lakeside schools. Yep, parking could be rough for some of the extracurricular activities. Sometimes I even had to walk over a hundred yards to get to the stadium gate. (yes, that is sarcasm)

Austin Rhodes
3002
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Austin Rhodes 03/30/11 - 02:36 pm
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Looks like a majority of

Looks like a majority of these folks complaining have little to no idea about the rules of this specific SPLOST plan, which included PARK LAND AQUISITION. The SPLOST was voted in...public parks ARE NEEDED in these neighborhoods...most every other end of the county has gotten shiney new stuff lately...why not Lakeside neighborhoods?

csrareader
1288
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csrareader 03/30/11 - 02:43 pm
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0
Austin, ask the folks at

Austin, ask the folks at Evans and Harlem what "shiney new stuff" they have received from the Cross conspirators.

Just My Opinion
6301
Points
Just My Opinion 03/30/11 - 02:55 pm
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Yes, it is true that the

Yes, it is true that the portion of this funding, 44%, that will come from SPLOST is something that has been "approved" by the voters. I don't think that most of the folks that voted on this, me being one of them, thought that this was what they had in mind. Oh, well, lesson learned, right? But, the part of this that bothers me is the remaining portion to be be paid by the Board of Ed. How can anyone justify the $4 million dollar expenditure in a time when furloughs, layoffs, program cancellations, and now the imminent rising cost of fuel is facing those who have to balance the budget while trying to maintain our high educational standards? On a personal level, how could I justify putting in a pool at my house when there's a good chance I might get laid off at work AND I have to buy braces for both of my kids? It just isn't fiscally prudent at this time.

alowndes
0
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alowndes 03/30/11 - 02:57 pm
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Austin, You took the words

Austin, You took the words right out of my mouth. This acquisition of land a approval of improvements were made before THE GREAT RECCESION. They obviously have no idea what SPLOST is all about.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/30/11 - 02:57 pm
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How about using splost funds

How about using splost funds to pave Washington road? How about using school splost funds to re-roof, to get new hvac systems, to repair & modernize Evans & Harlem, how about using splost funds to improve Blanchard park, etc. I can think of about 20 things that would be better than tearing down an entire stadium & building a new one.

A new stadium is NOT justified. Lakeside is not growing. They have a stadium. It is functional.

This was done in secret...intentionally. This is in poor taste. This is typical of small county politics. And it stinks.

I just love the hypocrisy of those in the media who claim to support the national tea party but its open spending season at the local level. As long as it benefits them. Newsflash. Money is money.

Asitisinaug
4
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Asitisinaug 03/30/11 - 03:01 pm
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0
Since the SPLOST money must

Since the SPLOST money must be spent this way and the majority of the land and improvements isn't about a stadium, the headlines here are misleading. Lakesdie schools will benefit but so will all of those in the area using all of the other facilities being added. If this were tax money that could be spent employing teachers, improving education or school safety then I would not agree but as things are, this is a good use of the funds.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/30/11 - 03:15 pm
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I just love the way the

I just love the way the government tries to justify spending by saying things come from this budget or that budget. That is a bad way of thinking. But its great for them. They can just keep on spending from some accounts even though other ones are broke. It is wrong.

It's like me saying that I'm going to pay my mortgage and my gas bill from my checking account but my savings account is low so I'm going to tell the credit card company and the water dept too bad, you don't get paid. Even though I have the money in my checking account to pay them.

I will never EVER again vote for splost. It is mismanaged and poorly used. We need some honest people in office. Locally & nationally. We are pathetic.

csrareader
1288
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csrareader 03/30/11 - 03:06 pm
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0
The County Commissioners

The County Commissioners operate with the same mentality as those imbeciles in the U.S. Senate and Congress. Spend, spend, spend, spend, spend. When the money's not there, take it from another account and tell the voters that "we have to spend it."

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 03/30/11 - 03:07 pm
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Thanks for the clarification.

Thanks for the clarification. As always we can rely on you giving us up to date info. If the article had presented this the way you explained maybe not as many feathers would have been ruffled.

IsAmericaFree
47
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IsAmericaFree 03/30/11 - 03:16 pm
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0
Cooler: I go at least twice

Cooler: I go at least twice a week to drop my son off at LHS. My point on the smell test was that this project was snuck in the back door. I have been to games at LHS and others around the area as well. I know that the staduim is not up to par. It's not a matter of what's good for the goose, it had to do with the County and BOE being honest with the people and giving us ample time to do our own research and discuss our options. The Rifle Team comment I made earlier wasn't a joke either. I can only hope the county and LHS will see fit to accomodate ALL sports teams at LMS/LHS and not just football, baseball, and soccer.

Now King Taylor is a VERY residential area. Were these folks aware this was going to happen before today? That's a lot of traffic flow for them.

Austin Rhodes
3002
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Austin Rhodes 03/30/11 - 03:28 pm
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0
NOBODY is tearing down a

NOBODY is tearing down a stadium...the current SMALL stadium will go the middle school. The County Commission AND the BOE each have seperate SPLOST funds that carry many of the same capital improvement requirements. Get educated before you BLOVIATE.

IsAmericaFree
47
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IsAmericaFree 03/30/11 - 03:31 pm
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So does full use mean the

So does full use mean the County Rec Dept can use the fields for practices and games too?

I do hope a local contractor gets the job. That would truly benefit our local economy.

Austin Rhodes
3002
Points
Austin Rhodes 03/30/11 - 03:33 pm
0
0
This project will include

This project will include MUCH for Rec Dept athletics.

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