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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iknowgirl
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iknowgirl 03/30/11 - 03:45 pm
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Lakesides field is virtually

Lakesides field is virtually impossible to play on after just minimal rain. The sidelines flood as well as the middle of the field. There are holes everywhere, and sharing this one field between all the sports ruins it. One thing you may not know about lakesides track is how bad of a condition it is in. Students and track athletes cannot run for a day without injuries due to the track being in bad condition. So if all of this has to be replaced anyways, why not make it a very nice facility for the community that will not have to be replaced for years and years to come? Just something to consider before you speak about a school you don't know much about.

kittikatt
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kittikatt 03/30/11 - 03:49 pm
0
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You're exactly right

You're exactly right iknowgirl. And thank you, Austin, for once again schooling the haters.

IsAmericaFree
47
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IsAmericaFree 03/30/11 - 03:54 pm
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Secret: I spent a few

Secret: I spent a few moments trying to compose myself after reading your post. It's difficult for me to take the high road because I was taught to speak my mind and speak it clearly. However, I will not do so this time because it will be out of anger. All I can say is I am proud to be an LHS mom and proud that my son and his friends are not the arrogant people you think they are.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/30/11 - 03:58 pm
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Oh, so now the middle school

Oh, so now the middle school gets their own stadium. How nice for them. Special Lakeside perks I guess. And more money for the taxpayers to maintain. Fantasic.

Austin. I am educated. I know when spending taxpayer money is wrong. That seems to be a problem for you. Perhaps a finance class would be of benefit. Anyone who supports this project is no tea party supporter. They are nothing but a big government spending supporter. This project is so over the top its ridiculous. And it was done on the sly.

I just love it when leopards change their spots when it benefits them. Isn't life interesting?

Riverman1
93707
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Riverman1 03/30/11 - 04:01 pm
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I'm all for the stadium. I

I'm all for the stadium. I also believe the old one was laid out a tad bit too short if anyone else remembers that. But whatever you do, don't let Barry Paschal name the thing. He wants it named Heggie's Rock Stadium probably.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/30/11 - 04:02 pm
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This is a waste of taxpayer

This is a waste of taxpayer money. Wasteful and ridiculous.

If the federal govt was doing this type of project some of the folks on here would be screaming from the highest mountaintop. But because THEY can use & see the project the support it. It still costs money people. Money we may need for something very, very important in the future. But, they have it now so they are going to lavishly spend it to duplicate money already spent.

You know who you are. Fair weather Tea Party "supporters".

follower
92
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follower 03/30/11 - 04:09 pm
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Although I have concerns on

Although I have concerns on quite a few issues with how tax money is spent, the commission CANNOT spend this splost money on anything other than a recreational park. And while there is Patriots Park, Riverside Park, and several others dotted throughout the county, there is not one in the Lakeside area, even though the population in the area is very dense. [And no, I do not live in that area, and my kids are adults now]

That is also why I DO NOT vote for the 1 cent sales tax, ever. Once passed, the projected money is borrowed, claiming today's prices will be less than they will 5 years from now. In the meantime, tens of thousands of dollars are spent on intrest in order to have something now, instead of waiting when we can pay for a project in full.

The problem is that voters don't read the information when voting. The wording was there, and since it was so open in interpretation regarding recreation, more of us should have voted NO. But, since it's passed, we've got to live with it.

I'll never vote myself a tax increase.

my.voice
5172
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my.voice 03/30/11 - 04:22 pm
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Lets see.......we are

Lets see.......we are furloughing teaching staff, holding off on Pre-K registration, the state is cutting the Hope, and Columbia County is building a football stadium. We certainly aren't in Kansas any more. What a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars in this dire economic time. Shame shame shame.

concernmom
403
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concernmom 03/30/11 - 04:47 pm
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This is fantastic! We need a

This is fantastic! We need a park where parents and children can walk to and play. My children attend school in this district, my taxes are paying for it and I give it a big thumbs up!
***To all the naysayers, get a life!****

corgimom
38451
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corgimom 03/30/11 - 05:35 pm
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$12 million. Of course, the

$12 million.

Of course, the CC residents know that the school district reserves have been drained just to meet operating expenses, right? But there's money for a stadium?

Get a life? Perhaps people have perfectly good lives, they just don't want to pay more taxes. And they are coming, and this is why.

CC isn't very urban. Why do kids need a park to play in- what's wrong with their neighborhood?

plunkettfamily
0
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plunkettfamily 03/30/11 - 05:54 pm
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Yes! I am looking forward to

Yes! I am looking forward to the upgrades!

Just My Opinion
6262
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Just My Opinion 03/30/11 - 06:19 pm
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It doesn't matter where the

It doesn't matter where the money is coming from, the money is there and it should be managed better than this. Don't you want the government to handle our money the way you would handle your own personal finances, for pete's sake? Is this what you would do with your own money? (Austin, you don't need to chime in on this one because you have let it be known how you handle your finances, and it's not very wisely.) And folks, in my opinion, this has NOTHING to do with Lakeside and it's people...it just so happens to be occurring at Lakeside. Mismanagement of funds is the crux of the matter. Well, I'll have to admit that this is apparently a done deal, so nothing much can be done about it now. Wow..more walking trails...yippee! However, I will be a more savy voter next go round when it comes to Cross, Thigpen, and Sleeper...and the next time they want us to accept a SPLOST.

concernmom
403
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concernmom 03/30/11 - 06:19 pm
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OK, everyone: do your

OK, everyone: do your homework - SPLOST dollars are being used to build the new Lakeside stadium and park- this will be top notch area for students and the surrounding residential areas.

This was voted by and for the people of our county and the majority of people in Columbia County voted YES- end of story.

corgimom
38451
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corgimom 03/30/11 - 06:56 pm
0
0
I am still shaking my head at

I am still shaking my head at people that think, in 2011, that any park is safe.

All parks are prime spots for drug dealers and homeless. Because it's a public park, and you can't bar entry to anyone.

Hope CC is planning on staffing it with officers. Once the drug dealers find out a park is open, they move in on it.

storiesihaveread
369
Points
storiesihaveread 03/30/11 - 08:50 pm
0
0
Time to get ride of Cross and

Time to get ride of Cross and his clan. We had the chance this year past year it did not happen. Come on Columbia lets get rid of Cross the next go round

Martinez
154
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Martinez 03/30/11 - 09:38 pm
0
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LHS field is a mess,

LHS field is a mess, literally the field. It was built without drainage or at least without working drainage. It was recently upgraded to try to minimize the problem but when you have multiple sports from three schools using one field (LHS, LMS & SIMS), temporary bandaids don't work. This multi-purpose athletic complex will be a welcomed addition to the local community as well as all of the student athletes at the three schools involved. Patriots Park is nice but geographically inconvenient. The dense population of families closely located to the new complex just makes sense. My only wish is that it included a pool. There are no public pool facilities in this area. You can either cram into the Y or pay hefty fees to join Petersburg or another private facility.

Austin Rhodes
2989
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Austin Rhodes 03/30/11 - 10:10 pm
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ADBC, how long did it take

ADBC, how long did it take Lakeside to get their own stadium vs. Grovetown and Greenbrier?

Why are you folks continuing to misuse the 12 million figure? That is total cost for everything including a county (NOT BOE) funded park, a new vocational wing (Evans has had one since the day they moved in), and carving new roads into and out of the JAMMED neighborhood.

There is a LOT of hateful dishonesty being spewed here.

coolerpooler
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coolerpooler 03/31/11 - 12:52 am
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I think its funny how

I think its funny how everyone is going off of the stadium being the major thing. Since when has a football stadium taken up more the 2 acres?? So let's see 70 acres bought and 2 or so is for stadium if that so that leaves a good 68 acres for the park. The park is the main deal and the stadium and new roads is secondary

coolerpooler
0
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coolerpooler 03/31/11 - 01:02 am
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Um adbc your weight room and

Um adbc your weight room and actuall seating was upgraded and every two to five years yalls track gets resurfaced now does lakeside even have a track that is usable and paid for by the BOE to be resurfaced NO!! And about your little traffic that is one school on a road with no other schools ours is three schools in a highly dense area with exits onto two smaller roads than belair or washington road

wildman
1222
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wildman 03/31/11 - 02:40 am
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Bad idea by all involved.

Bad idea by all involved.

JimCox
7
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JimCox 03/31/11 - 05:48 am
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The splost projects are

The splost projects are proposed and voted on, why all the negative posts about the commissioners when they are doing exactly what the voters approved? I would suggest that you negative posters get vocal before splost votes take place, not years afterwards.

corgimom
38451
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corgimom 03/31/11 - 06:46 am
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If it's estimated to cost $12

If it's estimated to cost $12 million, it'll be at least $16 million by the time it's done.

csrareader
1288
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csrareader 03/31/11 - 07:26 am
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Let's see... we have $12

Let's see... we have $12 million to spend. How do we do it. Should we relieve overcrowded classrooms? Work on improving overall SAT scores? Maybe use the money to repair the crumbling infrastructure at some schools? We could always use it to improve maintenance at schools? How about upgrading technology labs at ALL the schools? The libraries are always in need of money, right? No, said Ron Cross. I have a better idea. Let's build a stadium and put in a playground. Is this just a bad dream or has our local Government become completely incompetent?

concernmom
403
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concernmom 03/31/11 - 07:56 am
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For those of in favor of the

For those of in favor of the new stadium- yippee! I'm so happy for the children, parents and subdivisions close the LHS & LMS. This is a positive for all Columbia County residents close to these areas.
Furthermore, the stadium is being built with SPLOST dollars that we all voted YES on. It's going to be built so get over it.

sufferingsuccotash
0
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sufferingsuccotash 03/31/11 - 07:58 am
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I live in Chaparral, right

I live in Chaparral, right behind the LHS football stadium. Right now the wooded area between my neighborhood and the football stadium gives some buffer from the noise and lights of the sporting events. I'm concerned that if they tear all the trees down, the noise and light level will be disturbing. Right now, home prices have plummeted in my neighborhood because of the recession. I can't get what I paid for my house. Now, with this sports complex right behind my house, I'm stuck here forever. I have two kids that go to LHS and I have never wished we had a county sports complex in this area. We have one at Riverside which is 5-10 minutes away. I wonder if the county ever considered how this would impact the homes surrounding the complex or even if they care. And will my tax valuation go down now so I pay less taxes on my home? I doubt it. And they cut out the middle school Spanish program but they can afford $4 million for a sports complex. It just doesn't make sense to me.

coolerpooler
0
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coolerpooler 03/31/11 - 08:20 am
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Csrareader take a real look

Csrareader take a real look at the split up 12 million is total not all BOE get that straight before you say can go to teachers classrooms. Also when the upgrade the stadium it will allow for more sporting event revenue for the school and guess what portions of that money go to teachers upgrades to academic parts of school and better books. You obviously don't know where all the money from games come from. With a track area around the stadium lakeside will finally be able to house a track meet which meens big money.

lovingthesouth72
1408
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lovingthesouth72 03/31/11 - 08:31 am
0
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This is money wasted! It

This is money wasted! It would be better spent on education material, improving classrooms, and maybe teachers continuing-ed. In a country where the public school kids are lagging behind in many many areas, this just shows how shallow the priorities are, where sports are places before academics. Yes, I know that sports DO teach many virtues and life lessons (my son is a highschool football player ....), so I know that athletics do provide opportunities for kids to excel in many areas. However to place academics second to athletics shows poor judgement and sends the wrong message to the kids.

csrareader
1288
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csrareader 03/31/11 - 08:33 am
0
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Cooler, I know exactly where

Cooler, I know exactly where revenue from sporting events goes, and it's not for academics and books. It's for officials and the cost of hosting the event. The school system will not receive "big money" from athletics. The taxpayers, however, will pay "big money" to fund this waste of money. I don't care if all the $12 million is not from the BOE budget -- I know for a fact that all the $12 million will come from the overtaxed pockets of residents.

smAShT
42
Points
smAShT 03/31/11 - 08:40 am
0
0
Columbia County at its

Columbia County at its best...I know born and raised there for 33 years....first off please stop crying about lakeside field drainage problems, ever play out at Harlem on there field? Next, please stop using this "we need a park in this area" excuse. Lets see there the Rapid Pavilion, there is Riverside park, and there is the park behind the court house. THATS THREE PARKS with in 10 miles of one another. Plus 5 miles of a paved walking trail that run the lenth of Evans to Lock Rd. The question to ask really who is behind this land deal and is this the best way to spend tax payers dollars!!! Something stink here to high heaven.

msgret92
121
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msgret92 03/31/11 - 09:01 am
0
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The land sold in 2006 for

The land sold in 2006 for $1,150,000.00 it sold to the county for $1,600,000.00 according to the article. Approximately 40% profit in 5 years seems very high given the current real estate market. Who is behind this deal and why such a high profit considering the current market?

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