High school fence before planning commission

The Douglas County School District's engineering consultant told the Minden Town Board on Wednesday that officials are reviewing plans for a security fence around the high school's new $2.5 million track and field.

Plans for a 12-foot fence around the Douglas High School sports complex raised concerns last month from neighbors who feared the chain link barrier would make the school look like a prison compound.

A variance for the fence is before Douglas County planning commissioners 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Engineer Jeremy Hutchings said Wednesday school officials were reviewing options.

The item was on the town board agenda Wednesday for a height variance.

Town board member Ross Chichester said he didn't want to vote until he had all proposals before him.

Developer Greg Lynn, who owns property on Mahogany Drive which abuts the athletic field to the south, presented a letter to the school district that asked that he be indemnified - or compensated - for any liability rising from installation of a 12-foot fence which is twice the height of the existing fence.

"We feel that we will be exposed to undue liability presented by the possibility of vandals or others falling from any such fence either while trying to scale the fence from our property or from the athletic field side," Lynn said in the letter to school superintendent Carol Lark.

Lynn told the town board Wednesday he contacted the Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute for fencing options.

He said he was told 1-inch chain link would be much more difficult to climb or to breach with wire cutters.

"An 8-foot, 1-inch mesh fence costs just as much as a 12-foot, 2-inch mesh and would be much more difficult to get over," Lynn said.

"I would not say the district is 'digging in its heels,' but I will say there seems to be some recalcitrance to looking at other options."

Teacher and cross-country coach Keith Cole, "the guy who has had his hands on every inch of that field for seven years," said he wanted to apologize if it seemed the district wasn't willing to compromise.

"We all want security, we all want aesthetics," he said. "There absolutely is a middle ground. We're working on it. We're going to find it."

Town board member Bob Hadfield restated his opinion that it was the responsibility of the school board to hear the project.

"I feel strongly since the school board won't accept responsibility, we should have specific recommendations," Hadfield said. "I'm glad to hear you are working on it. I think the answer is here."


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